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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Second Amendment Rights

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Second Amendment Rights
May 192016
 

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Does the Second Amendment prevent effective gun regulations? What is the right to bear arms? Second Amendment litigation has become a critical battleground since the U.S. Supreme Court held, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense. This decision created a radical shift in the meaning of the Second Amendment, but it doesnt prevent smart gun regulations. In fact, since Heller, courts nationwide have found a wide variety of firearms laws constitutional because they can help prevent gun deaths, injuries, and crimes in communities across the country.

The Law Center not only tracks the extensive Second Amendment litigation currently happening nationwide, but also analyzes the trends, to bring you the latest developments in the courts.

See more recent developments in court >>

See more in-depth resources on the Second Amendment >>

See more amicus briefs >>

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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Second Amendment Rights

10 Beaches Across Massachusetts – Boston.com

 Beaches  Comments Off on 10 Beaches Across Massachusetts – Boston.com
May 152016
 

Who doesnt love a good beach day? Sand between your toes and the relaxing sound of waves rolling in. But do you find yourself wondering which beach you should go to? If you need beach ideas, heres ten across Massachusetts.

Eric Wilbur

At first glance, the town beach in sleepy Menemsha doesnt appear to be much, but when the lights start to go down over Marthas Vineyard, thats when the show begins. Grab fried clams at the nearby popular shack, The Bite, or steamed lobster from the likes of Menemsha Seafood or Larsens Fish Market and settle in for what many consider to be the best spot to watch a sunset in the entire state. The calmer waves at Menemsha Beach also make this a favorite spot for families with young children. For sure, Menemsha is a more serene, genteel alternative to the busier crowds on most other Vineyard beaches.

Eric Wilbur

Well known on the other island for sunsets is Madaket, located at Nantuckets westernmost point. Sunsets are a seasonal treat here, but so too is an early-morning stroll on the quiet beach. The surf can be heavy, as evidenced by the amount of ocean debris on shore. And even though its easily reached by Nantucket public transportation, a $4 round-trip from Nantucket town, the remoteness can sometimes make you feel as though you know a secret kept from other islanders.

Eric Wilbur

The drive down Route 88 can be a headache on any given day, so do yourself a favor and reach this beach by way of Horseneck Road, which runs parallel. Youll discover rolling farm lands, a winery, and a tranquil alternative to the sometimes maddening rush. Once at Horseneck, youll find ample inexpensive parking ($8 for residents, $14 for non-residents), classic Massachusetts dunes, sparkling, clean sand, and new changing facilities. Birders will love the habitat situated here. Camping is also available nearby, featuring 100 sites. Ocean waves can be rough at times, and seaweed can be plentiful, but Horseneck is still a beautiful spot to spend a beach day.

Eric Wilbur

The fine, white sand at Katama Beach, also known as South Beach, plays well in contrast to the deep blue ocean crashing into it with some ferocity at the shore. The three-mile stretch of land stretches far to both left and right, creating a soothing atmosphere where no land is visible as far as the eye can see a welcome escape. The waves can be a bit more aggressive, which makes it an ideal destination for boogie boarding or body surfing.

Eric Wilbur

The sand is a little whiter and brighter at the tip of the Cape, where Provincetowns crown jewel provides the final stop on the historic Cape Cod National Seashore. The views of the Atlantic Ocean are sweeping, and this is a great spot to make an early destination for a spectacular summer sunrise. Waves tend to be light here on an average day, making it a fine spot for families and those not looking to tangle with seaweed.

Eric Wilbur

Parking can be a real issue, as spaces at the beach are reserved for Manchester-by-the-Sea residents only. But you can find limited metered spots in the nearby downtown area if you beat the crowds, and Singing Beach still gets points for accessibility thanks to the presence of the MBTA commuter rail, just a short walk away. The rocky cliff coast of Singing comes into full view upon arrival, giving the area a feel almost like Maine. The pristine sand makes this a favorite North Shore destination, while the stunning views provide a soothing atmosphere.

Eric Wilbur

Located on the south shore of Nantucket, Cisco Beach is a surfing paradise, with waves just gnarly enough to provide the perfect atmosphere for both beginner and experienced boarders alike. This long stretch of sand is backed on one side by eroding dunes, the other by a cool ocean that boasts a number of wetsuits at any time of day. Beginners can learn the craft from the Nantucket Surfing Co., which is on hand for lessons and rentals. No public transportation to Cisco, reachable only by personal vehicle or taxi. Fare from Nantucket town is generally around $14 for one person, one-way. Each additional person will run a few dollars more.

Eric Wilbur

One of the first stops on the Cape Cod National Seashore, this Eastham favorite places annually on beach guru Dr. Stephen Leathermans list of the top 10 cleanest beaches in the country thanks to pristine ocean conditions, fine, powdery sand, and a concerted effort to protect the nesting piping plovers. Adjacent to the beach youll find miles of salt marshes, providing a dramatic backdrop to a Cape Cod jewel. Plentiful parking is available in the nearby parking lot ($15), from which a free National Seashore shuttle bus will whisk you to the shore. Passes for all National Seashore-run beaches are $45 for the season.

Eric Wilbur

Stare out at the ocean from atop this Wellfleet classics sand cliffs for one of Cape Cods most breathtaking views. Then make your way slowly down the adjacent embankment and it will seem like the beach swallowed you into its beauty. The clay-colored cliffs consume you, as if youve been swallowed up by the surroundings. Be sure to stop for lunch at the Beachcomber atop the cliffs, a typical beachside bar. Tip: Park for the day in the Beachcomber lot for $20; youll receive a food or merchandise voucher for the same amount. If thats full, look for additional parking down the road. As with most popular destinations, parking can be tight, so plan to get there early.

Eric Wilbur

This gorgeous stretch of land on the North Shore features fine powdery sand, clear ocean water, and some impressively clean changing and food facilities. The short walk across the parking lot boardwalk to the beach provides beachgoers with a variety of sights, from the plentiful mounds of sand dunes to the immaculate view of one of the states most beloved summer spots. Parking can be pricey $25 on weekends but spots are normally available if you get there early enough. And since the beach stretches for miles, youre not likely to have a difficult time landing a spot in the sand even on the most crowded summer days. If you want to leave the car behind, consider taking the Ipswich Essex Explorer, from the Ipswich commuter rail station. For just $5 round-trip, the shuttle transports passengers and drops them off right in front of the beacheven if the parking lot is full. The ticket price also covers beach admission.

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10 Beaches Across Massachusetts – Boston.com

Offshore Banking: Offshore Bank Accounts Services, Best …

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on Offshore Banking: Offshore Bank Accounts Services, Best …
May 092016
 

Just as the future of doing profitable international business lies in the offshore business company, the future of advantageous banking lies in offshore banking.

Is Offshore Banking For You?

Banking offshore is no longer restricted or limited to individuals or corporations with high net worth. In fact, offshore banking is actually recognized as a necessary tool of the trade for international business and is a very big part of the international financial system. Out of sheer necessity, the accessibility of offshore bank account expanded with globalization and world market trading. Offshore banking is used both by the majority of international corporations and by millions of private individuals daily. The desirability, the accessibility of the offshore bank account has spawned a large international market of offshore financial institutions with specialized offshore banking services catering to companies and individuals alike.

If you wish to access tax free banking facilities, have enhanced privacy in banking, and want to protect your assets from political and economic stability, open an offshore bank account today.

Why Offshore Banking?

Generally, well regulated offshore banks are highly favoured for a few key characteristics:

Years ago banking offshore was synonymous with Swiss banks, private banks, immense wealth, and not so glorious illegal trade, organized crime and tax evasion. No longer, today, offshore banking is an international tool of the trade, in which hundreds of billions of dollars pass through offshore bank accounts on a daily basis. Offshore financial centres and offshore banks are found in all regions of the world, including the well recognized European, Caribbean and Asian offshore financial centres.

Offshore Banking

Offshore banks come in all shapes and sizes. Some offshore banks provide the full suite of offshore banking services to corporations and individuals, while some offshore banks are exclusive, private and highly specialized catering to only individuals of high net worth; such financial establishments do not have walk in customers, but rather have a pool of customers selected on a preferential referral basis; there are other offshore banks that only offer offshore corporate banking services.

Generally, the retail offshore banks feature both offshore corporate banking services and offshore personal banking services. The wide range of offshore banking services may include:

The cost to open an offshore bank account

The cost for retail offshore banking also varies, and will depend on the type of bank, the level of service offered, the jurisdiction, though the cost of offshore banking in a retail offshore bank is expected to be lower than that of the more exclusive private offshore banks. However, the services at the retail offshore bank will not be as intimate/personal or customized as compared to that of exclusive private offshore banks. It may then boil down to preferences and banking within your expectations.

Offshore accounts can be opened in some offshore banks, (Panama for example) with an initial deposit of as little as US$500. Some European banks require a deposit of US$2,000,000 to open a private personal offshore account. On average, offshore corporate banking accounts are opened with US$10,000. Veritably, the cost to open the offshore account is wide ranging, so it is best to choose a bank and the type of account that is based on your on your confidence in the offshore financial centre and the bank, the services the bank offers, and the rates for services and favourable deposit requirements.

The Privacy and Confidentiality of offshore accounts

The process for to open an offshore bank account varies with jurisdiction and institutions In countries where offshore banks are well regulated and equally stable and secure, you should expect some level of due diligence to be performed by the offshore bank. Beware of offshore banks which have little or no due diligence and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. Corporation and personal information is exchanged during the offshore bank account opening process, and such information is private and confidential under law, although the privacy afforded citizens from countries by the EU Savings Tax Directive 2005 may be limited under this Directive as information is automatically exchanged.

How to open offshore bank Account?

You will not need to plan a trip to Panama, or Jersey, or the Cayman Islands to open an offshore bank account for your offshore company. Offshore bank accounts can be formed online, or through a local agent who will provide the necessary documentation and in some cases the required bank introductions. Generally the requirements to open offshore bank account in more commercial offshore banking establishments are:

For Offshore Company Accounts

For the personal offshore bank account

Before you choose you offshore banking company for your offshore corporate banking or personal banking offshore, look into a few of the offshore banks to first establish the deposit qualifications, the minimum deposits requirements as these differ greatly by bank and by country.

Offshore Bank Introductions for Offshore Company accounts, Offshore Service Agents

Bank introduction are important where the bank will only accept clients from a source with which is knows, that being the agent. Some agents will only assist in opening an offshore company account that has been formed though them, we recommend you buy a package where an offshore company and an offshore bank account is bundled together. This increases you chances of successfully opening an offshore bank account for offshore companies.

The local agent will to execute the offshore account application on your behalf without you ever stepping a foot into the country. Most professional offshore service providers use overnight courier services to move documents between the bank and the client, to ensure you confidentiality and security are maintained.

Best offshore accounts

The best offshore banking companies are trusted financial institutions with good reputations and solid backing. Generally an international (publicly traded) bank is more likely to be solvent.

Link:
Offshore Banking: Offshore Bank Accounts Services, Best …

Liberty, NC | A Great Place to Live.

 Liberty  Comments Off on Liberty, NC | A Great Place to Live.
Apr 302016
 

In ancient times, public toilets were just that, public, communal. Like a town square, large stone benches with holes in thelatrine satover running water that flowed beneath. Men and women sat side by side having conversations and taking care of business. These days it’s all a private affair, so much so that I cannot recall the last time (in this country)I’ve been in a toilet without partitioned stalls and locking doors. So I’m confused as to why the Governor McCrory felt the need to pass HB2 and more to the point, why Randolph County felt it necessary to publically support the measure? The only answer is hate and fear.

Even more interesting is the Courier Tribune ran a non-scientific public opinion poll of Randolph County citizens showing that the respondents were against HB2.This means that Randolph County Government literally voted to support a measure thatwas entirely superfluousand did so against the opinion of its constituents. This despite there has never been a single instance of a need for this law in Randolph County, and the absolute silliness of all this as it’s completely unenforceable and will be completely ignored.

If anything will come of this measure it’s hostility. Hostility not towardsLGBT people (though it definitely could)but hostility towards non-LGBT individuals,those who don’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes. How long before ambiguity leads to confrontation? How long before someone takes HB2 into their own hands and it leads to violence? Violence against these same women and men that HB2 purports to protect.

If this law was aimed at other minorities we would call it racism. If it was aimed at foreigners we would call it xenophobic and it’s important to remember that the words and expressions of local government who support HB2 is nothing short of hate speech. Unlike the U.S., hate speech is largely been criminalized in Europe thanks to a 2008 European Union decision. What’s that got to do with little Randolph County? Why are companies pulling out of North Carolina? Because almost every multi-national corporation currently operating in this great state of ours, which also operates within countries that fall under the European Union framework are at risk of being in violation the 2008 decision should they be forced to implement HB2. The higher legal standard applies.Even with regard to U.S. law, the possibility for a lawsuit due to violence or a hostile workplace is enough to send companies running.

In all honesty,they should. Run away from this placeuntil it’s inclusive to people of all gender, race and religious beliefs.This is totalitarianism at its worst. It’s hateful, wrong and morally repulsive.

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Liberty, NC | A Great Place to Live.

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Pass Christian, Mississippi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Beaches  Comments Off on Pass Christian, Mississippi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apr 292016
 

Pre-historyEdit

The exact date when Native Americans first arrived in the Gulf Coast area is not known, but artifacts have been found suggesting that humans have inhabited the area for many thousands of years.

Indian mounds can be found throughout the Gulf coast region of southern Mississippi, but many have been destroyed by artifact hunters, farmers, developers, and flooding. A 1768 English map shows one large mound existed on the shore near to Market Street. Others existed at Bayou Portage and the Shelly Plantation on the shore north of the Bay of St. Louis near DeLisle. The mounds and middens in the area containing arrowheads, pottery, and human skeletons were pilfered by amateur archaeologists over the years and many of the items recovered are in private collections. At the border of Pass Christian and Long Beach near White Harbor Road meets Hwy. 90 there once existed an Indian village, whose inhabitants were referred to by locals as “The Pitcher Point Indians”. The approximate location of the Indian Village is just a few hundred yards east of White Harbor Road. There are no ruins at this location but the beach in this area has produced many arrowheads and pottery shards over the years.

It is likely that Pitcher Point is the location where survivors of the 1528 lvar Nez Cabeza de Vaca Narvez expedition landed naked and starving among a people called the Carnones. This story was told to DeVaca by friendly Indians who stated that, the natives had killed the Spanish who were so feeble that they could not defend themselves.

Pass Christian was discovered by French-Canadian explorers in 1699, shortly after the first French colony was established in Biloxi. In June of 1699, while sounding the channel at the Pass Christian peninsula, the French named that channel Passe aux Hutres for the many oysters they found there. Pass Christian was named for a nearby deepwater pass, which in turn was named for Nicholas Christian L’Adnier, who lived on nearby Cat Island beginning in 1746.[2]

They remained on Ile aux Vaisseaux the following day due to bad weather. On the 13th Iberville and his brother Bienville with a party of thirteen men went ashore, sailing due north from the west end of the island. Their landing would have been somewhere between present-day Beauvoir and Edgewater.

The following morning they explored eastward along the beach, following footprints in the sand until they caught sight of three Indians in a canoe leaving Deer Island. Iberville pursued them across Biloxi Bay, catching up just as they reached shore at Ocean Springs. The younger natives fled into the woods leaving an old and dying man. The Frenchmen made him a bed of straw and built him a fire before withdrawing to make a camp for themselves. Unfortunately, the grasses around him soon caught fire and though the fires were extinguished, the old man died half an hour later.

Ibervilles hunters captured an old woman in the woods and heaped gifts upon her to take to her people. The first diplomatic contact with the native people had been accomplished and the Indians told them of the great river to the west.

On February 27 Iberville set out in wind and drizzle with Bienville, M. Sauvolle and about 48 men to visit the Mississippi River. They spent the night near the south end of the later named Bay of Saint Louis and the following day traversed the Breton Sound in fog and rain which continued through the following day. On March 2, running before a storm, they located and entered the mouth of the Mississippi and traveled up stream making contact with various tribes until on March 16 they came upon a decorated pole which marked the boundary between the Houmas and the Bayagoulas tribes. They called the place Red Stick or Baton Rouge. On the return trip, Iberville discovered the proof he sought in the form of letter written by Henri de Tonti to La Salle fourteen years earlier. The letter had been left with the chief of the Mongoulachas who bartered it to Iberville for a few hatchets and knives.

Iberville shortly thereafter divided his party into two groups. Bienville returned by the mouth of the Mississippi while Iberville explored the area of Pass Manschac, lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain and returned to the open water by the Rigolets.

When Iberville departed from his ships on April 27, he instructed them to return to France if he had not returned within one month. On March 30 he camped near the mouth of the Bay of Saint Louis where he built a large fire to signal his return.

The following morning he recognized Cat island, and shortly thereafter reached his ships. About an hour later Bienville and his party arrived.

In 1781 all of Pass Christian peninsula was owned by Julia de la Brosse (Widow Asmard). Upon her death in 1799, Widow Asmard deeded 800 arpents the entire downtown Pass Christian to Charles Asmar, a free person of color,[3] who upon his death left the property to his heirs. Pass Christian was officially chartered as a town in 1848.[4]

On the night of December 12, 1814, more than 1000 British troops and 42 barges en route to New Orleans moved through the pass between Ship and Cat Islands and sailed westward along the Mississippi coast, passing just offshore of Pass Christian. They were closely watched by Lt. Thomas ap Catesby Jones, commanding the seven American boats standing off Malheureux Island as the British proceeded to anchor off Hendersons Point (western tip of Pass Christian) the night of the 13th of December. He dispatched the tender, Sea Horse, under the command of Sailing Master William Johnson into the Bay of Saint Louis to assist in the removal of the public stores lest they fall to the British. He then sent the ship, Alligator to Chalmette to warn General Andrew Jackson of the British approach.

Word of the British fleets arrival spread throughout the county and a large crowd gathered at sunrise on the 14th, along the bluff to watch the fleet passing. Three British boats were dispatched to capture the Sea Horse as it endeavored to load munitions below the bluff at Ulman Avenue. Among the crowd was an elderly lady on crutches, a Miss Claiborne, who was visiting from Natchez. About 2 p.m., on observing the impending attack, she is quoted as saying Will no one fire a shot in defense of our country whereupon it is said that she took Mayor Toulmes cigar and lighted one of the cannon. The ball sailed past the Seahorse and landed close to the approaching British. Assuming that he had fire cover from shore, Capt. Johnson seized the initiative and attacked the British fleet. He had a 6-pounder (canon) on his deck and after half an hour of intense barrage the British retreated. Four more barges joined the first three and the seven renewed the attack. Although Capt. Johnsons defense was gallant, superior numbers forced him to blow up the little schooner rather than surrender her.

The rest of the American fleet in the Mississippi Sound, consisting of four barges, was anchored in the westerly current between Malheureux Island and Point Clear. On the morning of the 15th, the British rowed their boats into the current until they were about two miles away where they anchored to take tea (breakfast) and rest before attacking. About 10:30 they closed on the brave little fleet under the command of Lt. Thomas ap Catesby Jones.

By 12:40 the battle was over. Six Americans were dead and 35 were wounded. The British suffered 17 dead and 77 wounded. The greater significance of this battle and the greater loss to the British was the passage of time allowing General Andrew Jackson to gather more troops and to complete fortifications for the defense at Chalmette where victory over the British was achieved on January 7.

The British were so certain of victory that they brought civil servants to assume governing the areas they expected to conquer with them, as well as wives and children who were waiting on the Mississippi Coast islands. However, the great victory for the Americans was rendered inconsequential because the peace treaty had already been signed and word had not reached the Coast.

Mississippi became a state in December, 1817 and the first act of the Mississippi legislature was to incorporate the city of Bay Saint Louis (directly across the bay from Pass Christian) to become the capital of the state. The incorporation was completed at the morning session but at the afternoon session, the representative from Rankin County changed his vote and Natchez was designated capital instead. It remained the capital for two years before the capital was moved to Jackson where it remains.

The town was a famous resort prior to the American Civil War. It was a favorite location for the beach and summer homes of the wealthy of New Orleans, who built a row of historic mansions along the shoreline, where Scenic Drive was one of the country’s notable historic districts.[citation needed] The Southern Yacht Club, established in 1849, was the first yacht club in the South and the second in the United States, and was originally located in Pass Christian before moving to New Orleans in 1857.[5] The Pass Christian Yacht Club was itself founded in the mid 20th century.

During the Civil War, the Battle of Pass Christian occurred when the USSMassachusetts(1860) began shelling the town. The 3rd Mississippi Regiment, which was stationed in Pass Christian, had marched toward Biloxi expecting a Union landing there, leaving Pass Christian completely unprotected. A housewife dashed to her upper floor balcony and waved a white bed sheet, the flag of surrender, and the bombardment ceased. Union soldiers plundered the town before withdrawing, there being little of value, including food, for them to confiscate. This skirmish became known as the Bedsheet Surrender.

On September 4, 1861, 69 men, including Captain Ashbel Green were mustered into military service. They made up the Dahlgren Guards Company, which was part of the Third Mississippi Infantry “C” Regiment, commanded by Col. John Deason. The Pass Christian Dahlgren Guards was headed by Lt. Col. Thomas A. Mellon during their encampment at Camp Tugville, which was located two miles northeast of the Pass near the intersection of White Rock Road and Pass Road.

In the early months of 1862, the women of the Pass raised their spirits by creating a flag that represented their love for their men, devotion for their sovereign state, and dedication to the war effort. The flag they created, The Pass Christian Flag, was an adaptation of the official flag of the Sovereign Republic of Mississippi.[6]

Pass Christian was in the path of two of the most intense hurricanes ever to hit the United States–Hurricane Camille on August 17, 1969, and Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. Each hurricane caused the near total destruction of the city. Hurricane Camille, the 2nd strongest hurricane of the 20th century, was declared a hurricane (meaning it had sustained wind speeds of 74 m.p.h.) on Friday, August 15, 1969. By the time it smashed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast at Pass Christian, Mississippi 2 days later on Sunday, August 17, it had sustained winds of 190 m.p.h. with gusts in the 210 220 m.p.h. range. It also had the 2nd lowest barometric pressure ever recorded [909 millibars (26.85)]. Raindrops hit with the force of bullets, and waves off the Gulf Coast crested between twenty-two and twenty-eight feet above normal tide range. Camille was only the 2nd hurricane on record to reach Category 5 at the time of landfall, as well as being the 2nd most intense hurricane at the time of landfall. The 1935 Labor Day hurricane was the first Category 5 hurricane as well as the strongest and most intense hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States in recorded history.[7][8]

Hurricane Camille destroyed the Richelieu Apartments killing eight people who had chosen to ride the storm out. The Richelieu Apartments faced the Gulf of Mexico and was less than 250 feet away from the surf on the beach. Early Sunday, August 17, the storm was southeast of New Orleans by 200 miles. A Hurricane Warning was then announced for the entire Mississippi Coast. Evacuation was advised but some of the occupants of the Richelieu apartments ignored the warning. At 10:15p.m. on August 17, 1969 the front wall of the storm came ashore. The Richelieu Apartments were totally destroyed; all that remained were the foundation and the shell of the in-ground swimming pool, the force of the water pounded the concrete block construction until it completely destroyed the building. The hurricane party depicted in “Hurricane”, a 74 min TV Movie featuring some notable stars includes actual footage of hurricane “Camille”.

On August 29, 2005, Pass Christian was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Of the approximately 8,000 homes in Pass Christian, all but 500 were damaged or destroyed. In spite of the fact that the beachfront Scenic Drive follows the crest of a small bluff, affording it some elevation, most of the historic mansions along the road were severely damaged, and many were completely destroyed, including the superbly restored Greek Revival mansion “Union Quarters” described in the National Register of Historic Places as having been built in 1855. A cast iron fence fronted the property enclosing a Magnolia Historical Marker which was dedicated in 1960. It read, “Union officers were temporarily quartered here during the invasion of Pass Christian.”

Hurricane Katrina totally destroyed the local public library. It was rebuilt.[9] Thirteen members of the city’s police department retreated to the library after the police station became unsafe and water from the Gulf of Mexico began to pour in.

The library was immediately north of City Hall across a small parking lot but was at a lower elevation. When the water crested the elevation of City Hall, the police cars in the parking lot began to float and were carried around the parking lot by the current. One car struck the south side doors, causing them to implode, and the Gulf of Mexico driven by Katrina’s powerful winds rushed into the building. With no way to fight against the current they were trapped inside a concrete box that was rapidly filling with water. Knowing that they had to escape they attempted to shoot the glass out of the north side of the building. This was unsuccessful, as the bullets ricocheted off the glass. The laminated glass proved impervious to the .45 caliber rounds of the police-issue handguns. The force of the water entering the building after the southern wall was destroyed by the car was far too strong to swim against. The only way out was with the current. Police Chief John Dubbisson swam to the rear doors that had to be opened where he successfully touched the push bar. He then grabbed a railing before the storm surge could carry him off. All that were inside the library made it outside and rode out the rest of the storm on the roof.[10][11]

The storm surge from Hurricane Katrina that hit Pass Christian was estimated at 8.5m (27.8ft),[12] which is the US record high,[13] leveling Pass Christian up to half a mile inland from the shore; estimation of highest storm surges was complicated because high-water markers were also destroyed. Highway 90 along the beach was damaged, and the bridge over the Bay of St. Louis was thrown completely apart, not being reopened until a new bridge was partially completed in May 2007. (Connection was temporarily replaced by a ferry service.) Sewage contamination rendered the local water supply unusable, as some samples tested positive for more than 250 bacteria and parasites. By late September 2005, access was restricted south of the railroad tracks (about four blocks inland) without proper credentials, as crews continued to search for victims and clear debris. In early 2007, although rebuilding was underway in much of the city, a large portion of empty, deserted homes and other structures remain. Many residents were still living in FEMA trailers, and out-of-state volunteers were still needed for the rebuilding effort.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.3 square miles (40km2), of which 8.4 square miles (22km2) is land and 6.9 square miles (18km2) (44.97%) is water.

Geographically, the town of Pass Christian located on the Mississippi Sound, and is situated on a peninsula, with water on three sides: the Gulf of Mexico to the south, the Bay of St. Louis to the west and a long stretch of bayou to the north.

The unincorporated area north of the bayou, known as DeLisle (pronounced “duh LILL” or “duh LEEL”), shares a zip code with Pass Christian, but is not within the city limits. DeLisle was formerly known as Wolf Town or Wolftown.

The Municipal Harbor was formalized in 1956 with the creation of a Harbor Commission. In 1958, an 11-foot high, 350-foot long, concrete, breakwater wall was constructed in the sound by the T.L. James Company. There are only two such concrete harbor walls in the world, with the other in Japan. Almost 1000 linear feet of public fishing is permitted on the two breakwalls. The harbor consists of seven piers, four assigned for pleasure craft and three for commercial vessels. Before it was destroyed by waves from Hurricane Katrina there were 346 slips ranging in berth sizes from 31-feet to 84-feet, in addition to a skiff-pier providing 20 tie-ups. Water, electricity, showers, restrooms, and a bait and fuel station and a vessel pump-out station were available, all overseen from the two-story Harbor Master office.[citation needed]

Pass Christian possessed some of the finest oyster reefs in the world, which have served to anchor Pass Christians economy. The oyster reefs that lie just offshore are among the largest on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Pass Christian group of Oyster Reefs have been documented on maps since D’Iberville and Bienville chartered these waters in 1699. Early French maps of the area refer to the reefs and batures as Passe aux Hutres (Oyster Pass). There are nine reefs comprising an area of about twenty square miles. Further west are the Henderson Point and Calico reefs which are one to two miles south of Henderson Point.

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 6,579 people, 2,687 households, and 1,797 families residing in the city. The population density was 781.2 people per square mile (301.7/km). There were 3,351 housing units at an average density of 397.9 per square mile (153.7/km). The racial makeup of the city was 65.91% White, 28.17% African American, 0.62% Native American, 3.48% Asian (almost all Vietnamese American), 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.62% from other races, and 1.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.75% of the population.

There were 2,687 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,743, and the median income for a family was $46,232. Males had a median income of $35,352 versus $22,195 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,008. About 8.2% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.

The Du Pont White Pigment and Mineral Products Plant now known as the Chemours DeLisle Plant is located just south of I-10 in DeLisle. The plant is one of the world’s largest producers of titanium dioxide and has been in operation since 1979. The town of Pass Christian is near the plant, directly across the Bay of St. Louis. Some community members also expressed concerns that chemical releases, as reported on EPAs Toxic Release Inventory, from the DuPont plant could have contaminated the communitys water and air. DuPont DeLisle’s titanium dioxide plant reported the third highest amount of dioxin-like compounds in EPAs Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). In 2005, the Hurricane Katrina storm surge flooded significant portions of the plant. Unlike other aquatic organisms, blue crabs do not have the ability to metabolize quickly certain dioxin-like compounds Polychlorinated dibenzofurans that predominate in the coke and ore solids waste stream of the plant.

The Pass Packing Company was formed on May 16, 1899, with George Brandt, F Andressen, Frank Sutter, TV Courtenay, JH Knost, and George H Taylor as its founding officers. This plant was bought out by the Dunbar and Dukate interests of Biloxi who also acquired the cannery at Bay St. Louis. The plant was located at the present site of the Pass Christian Yacht Club. Originally built in 1902, the building was destroyed by the 1947 hurricane. Workers arrived by truck or box car and were housed in special cottages owned by the factory. There was a large apartment building on Market Avenue which the locals called the “White Elephant”, and was reported to house as many as 30 families. Additionally, there were the Row Houses consisting of rows of duplexes built one after the other.The “Green Row” on Dunbar Street had 16 duplexes, and the “Red Row” on Woodman Avenue had 19 duplexes.These houses were eventually abandoned when in 1956 mechanical oyster shuckers were installed, thereby eliminating the need for so many employees.

Besides seafood packer George Washington Dunbar, there was Ernest Hudson Merrick, who was one of the first importers of out of state labor for the seafood packing industry at Pass Christian. In 1908, he started visiting the Pass during summers to escape the heat of New Orleans. During his summers he became interested in the potential of fishing along the coast and proceeded to build a fleet of fishing schooners and a factory for processing, packing, and shipping oysters and shrimp,said one of his sons, Bill Merrick. He was one of the first to ship fresh oysters and shrimp to the north packed in ice. The delicacy of the Gulf Coast oysters created a large demand in the Midwest.

Seafood production in the region has been severely impacted by large scale fish die-offs. The The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred in the spring and summer of 2010along with the presence of toxic sediments stirred up by Hurricane Katrina and record amounts of fresh water diverted into the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisianahave brought seafood production to a standstill. Offshore oyster beds were hit especially hard. Field crews have reported a 50 percent to 65 percent mortality rate in some areas. An even greater mortality rate of 90 percent to 95 percent has been seen in other oyster beds.

The owner of a Mississippi seafood company filed a federal class-action lawsuit Friday over the rig explosion that caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On April 30, 2010 A local Seafood shipper, Jerry Forte, owner of Jerry Forte Seafood in Pass Christian, claims the spill could damage the commercial seafood industry. Forte’s attorneys filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Gulfport. The suit seeks at least $5 million in compensatory damages, plus an unspecified amount of punitive damages against Transocean, BP, Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and Cameron International Corp. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co.

Between 1923 and 1929 New Orleans residents Rudolf Hecht and Lynne Watkins Hecht developed Middlegate Japanese Gardens at their summer home in Pass Christian, Mississippi.[17] The Hechts built Middlegate Japanese gardens to perpetuate their pleasant memories of their travels in Japan. The gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1923 when the Hechts established them, Middlegate Japanese Gardens have been private, residential gardens.[18] The gardens were extensively damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Smithsonian Institution has included the gardens on their Collection Search Center website.[19]

James M. Sherman, at age 67, began construction of Sherman Castle. Designed and built of solid cement, the steel-reinforced castle located at 1012 West Beach, Highway 90 has withstood many hurricanes. At the time of his death, Sherman had completed most of the structure with walls that are nine inches thick. Much of the structure was first laid out in molds that were shaped and poured with concrete to erect the castle piece by piece. The theme of the Castle, “God is my Sculptor” is located on a plaque within the castle.[20]

Pass Christian’s government is a mayorcouncil government system. The current mayor, Leo “Chipper” McDermott, was elected in a special election in 2006, following the resignation of the previous mayor, and then re-elected for a full term in 2009.

Current Board of Aldermen

Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Mississippi, launched Seabees on Sept. 9 to neighboring communities throughout Harrison and Stone counties, including Pass Christian, to assist its citizens with disaster recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In a measure to improve health, sanitation and morale, the Seabees cleared approximately three miles of railroad track for a temporary sewer line, they set up a laundry unit and installed a nine-head shower unit for the firefighters and volunteers. They also built temporary housing to house 1,000 people rendered homeless by the impact of Hurricane Katrina. 250 Seabees from detachments across the United States gathered behind the city’s War Memorial Park, where they constructed a temporary police department headquarters and other municipal offices. This was not the first time that Seabees have answered the call to duty in Pass Christian. The naval construction teams performed a similar feat after Hurricane Camille struck the town hard in 1969.

The Pass Christian School District operates the schools in the city, and in the inland, unincorporated areas around and to the north of DeLisle. The Pass Christian Middle School (formerly the Pass Christian High School) on the corner of 2nd Street and Church Street was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A monument proclaiming that the school had withstood Hurricane Camille was left standing. The new Pass Christian High School, which opened in 2001, was flooded almost to the second level, but was renovated and re-opened in October 2006. The Pass Christian Elementary School, across the street from the high school, was also flooded and was torn down because of mold concerns. Delisle Elementary was the only school left standing, and became a temporary grounds for all of the students of the Pass Christian School District, housed either in temporary trailer classrooms or in the elementary school, sharing cafeteria and gymnasium facilities with the school.

A new educational complex housing Pass Christian Middle School and Pass Christian Elementary School is the $32 million Pass Christian Center of Excellence. It includes a day care center and an attached Boys & Girls Club,[21] on the north side of campus. It opened in 2010. As of 2011, Delisle Elementary School has been torn down and is under reconstruction.[citation needed]

Pass Christian High School is a Blue Ribbon school.[22]

The parochial elementary and middle school of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic church was destroyed by Katrina, and the school was merged with the neighboring Long Beach parochial school to form St. Vincent de Paul School. Coast Episcopal High School is a parochial high school in Pass Christian.

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All Beaches, Lakes & Boating Philadelphia visitphilly.com

 Beaches  Comments Off on All Beaches, Lakes & Boating Philadelphia visitphilly.com
Apr 202016
 

The largest collegiate regatta in the United States

May 13-14, 2016 The Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is a two-day race held on the Schuylkill River in beautiful Fairmount Park, one of the most famous and scenic rowing routes in the world.

Tubing, canoeing, rafting and kayaking on the Delaware

Tubing, canoeing, rafting and kayaking trips down the scenic Delaware River

A lakeside oasis amid suburban Bucks County

A lakeside oasis amid suburban Bucks County

Cruise by historic New Hope aboard a Mississippi-style riverboat

Cruise by historic New Hope aboard a Mississippi-style riverboat

A 165-mile trail connecting waterways, rails and trails along a historic railroad path

A 165-mile trail connecting waterways, rails and trails along a historic railroad path

Full, half-day and overnight fly fishing adventures on the Delaware River

Full, half-day and overnight fly fishing adventures on the Delaware River.

A leisurely float down the Delaware, with lunch along the way

A leisurely float down the Delaware, with lunch along the way

One of the worlds largest city park systems

With more than 9,200 acres of rolling hills, gentle trails, relaxing waterfront and shaded woodlands, Fairmount Park keeps a wealth of natural landscapes within easy reach of all city residents.

You can take a stroll, head out for an afternoon of softball, organized frisbee or pier-side fishing, or just settle in for a family picnic. There are miles of trails for horseback riding, off-road cycling and deep-woods hiking, yet there are also tours of historic mansions, Japanese tea ceremonies and outdoor concerts. Three environmental centers, as well as a wildlife refuge treatment center, help bring the natural world to life for adults as well as children.

Overnight equestrian camping amid wooded trails and gorgeous views

An exciting, two-day race that draws fans from around the world

October 29-30, 2016 Enjoy a great fall weekend in Fairmount Park and take in a picturesque fall regatta at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, one of the longest running head races in the country.

Pennsylvanias largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh

With 1000 acres, ten miles of trails and many native wildlife and plants, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum protects the largest fresh water tidal marsh in Pennsylvania.

Whitewater rafting right here in the Delaware Valley

Whitewater rafting, with Class 3 and 4 rapids, right here in the Delaware Valley

Full or half-day guided fishing trips

Get the most out of your fishing trip with a little help from experienced guides. Whether its trout or bass, salt or freshwater, Mainstream Outfitters can help you find your fish with one of their guided fishing trips.

A tidal estuary along the banks of Neshaminy Creek more than 100 miles upriver from the Delaware Bay

A tidal estuary along the banks of Neshaminy Creek, more than 100 miles upriver from the Delaware Bay

The largest lake in Southeastern Pennsylvania, accompanied by a 5,283-acre park

Offering more than 1,450 acres and four public launching areas, Lake Nockamixon is a popular spot for boating of all kinds, including catamarans and windsurfers. Anglers also enjoy this warm, expansive water lake, which is stocked with a variety of species.

Making waves

A premium hang on the northern edge of NoLibs, this swim club attracts an attractive crowd with tunes, drinks and chill space.

Kayaking, canoeing and tubing along the scenic Brandywine River

Northbrook Canoe Company offers kayaking, canoeing and tubing along the scenic Brandywine River in Chester County, Pennsylvania, about an hour southwest of Philadelphia.

Boat tours of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers

Offering excursions along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, Patriot Harbor Lines welcomes up to 35 guests on its reproduction of a classic 1920s commuter yacht.

Lake Galena, at 365 acres, is a favorite recreational spot

Fourteen miles of trails are just one of the many outdoor activities that Peace Valley Park has to offer. Bring a picnic for a lakeside lunch, or paddle out onto Lake Galena and hook a bass, walleye, catfish, bluegill or carp. The bird blind at the Peace Valley Nature Center next door offers quiet observation of cardinals, woodpeckers, finches, titmice, sparrows and more.

One of the worlds elite racing teams

One of the worlds elite racing teams

10th anniversary of the weekend long triathlon festival

The Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon is a big deal in the multi-sport world, becoming a top-rated, sell-out event.

A colorful celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition

Stroll up Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River for an unusually colorful and dramatic regatta, the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival, Philadelphias annual celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition.

A full day of rowing, food and fun on the banks of the Schuylkill River

Test yourself against a deep field of hundreds of other masters rowers at this annual rowing extravaganza, held on the famous Schuylkill River racecourse in Philadelphia.

Enter (or watch) as many races are you care to, but be prepared for a challenging 1,000-meter course, which starts at St. Joseph Universitys Boathouse and finishes by the storied Fairmount Park Grandstands.

Philadelphias only amphibious sightseeing tour

Take a ride on Philadelphias only amphibious sightseeing tour.

See the skyline from the Delaware River

A 12-minute scenic river tour gives you the opportunity to see sensational views of waterfront highlights and the City of Philadelphias spectacular skyline, all while floating down the impressive Delaware River.

A 26.5-mile, multi-use path from Philadelphia to Phoenixville

This 26.5-mile recreational path runs along the Schuylkill River from Center City Philadelphia to Phoenixville in Chester County.

235 acres for kayaking, bird walks, pond tours and seasonal festivals

Silver Lake Nature Center features a butterfly garden, lakes, marshes, meadows, a bog and 4.5 miles of nature trails that highlight the diverse plant and animal life in the area.

Cruise the Delaware River in style

For three decades, the Spirit of Philadelphia has provided a unique combination of dining, dancing, entertainment and incredible skyline views on the Delaware River.

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Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apr 192016
 

Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,568. The 2014 census estimates an increase to 79,047.[2] Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the “City of Seven Hills” or the “Hill City”.[3] Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that was not captured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War.[4]

Lynchburg is the principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Lynchburg, near the geographic center of Virginia. It is the fifth largest MSA in Virginia with a population of 254,171[5] and hosts several institutions of higher education. Other nearby cities include Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Danville. Lynchburg’s sister cities are Rueil-Malmaison, France and Glauchau, Germany.

A part of Monacan country upon the arrival of English settlers in Virginia, the region had traditionally been occupied by them and other Siouan Tutelo-speaking tribes since ca. 1270, driving Virginia Algonquians eastward. Explorer John Lederer visited one of the Siouan villages (Saponi) in 1670, on the Staunton River at Otter Creek, southwest of the present-day city, as did Batts and Fallam in 1671. The Siouans occupied the area until c. 1702, when it was taken in conquest by the Seneca Iroquois. The Iroquois ceded control to the Colony of Virginia beginning in 1718, and formally at the Treaty of Albany in 1721.

First settled in 1757, Lynchburg was named for its founder, John Lynch, who at the age of 17 started a ferry service at a ford across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London. He was also responsible for Lynchburg’s first bridge across the river, which replaced the ferry in 1812. He and his mother are buried in the graveyard at the South River Friends Meetinghouse. The “City of Seven Hills” quickly developed along the hills surrounding Lynch’s Ferry. Thomas Jefferson maintained a home near Lynchburg, called Poplar Forest. Jefferson frequented Lynchburg and remarked “Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be useful to the town of Lynchburg. I consider it as the most interesting spot in the state.”

Lynchburg was established by charter in 1786 at the site of Lynch’s Ferry on the James River. These new easy means of transportation routed traffic through Lynchburg, and allowed it to become the new center of commerce for tobacco trading. In 1810, Jefferson wrote, “Lynchburg is perhaps the most rising place in the U.S…. It ranks now next to Richmond in importance…” Lynchburg became a center of commerce and manufacture in the 19th century, and by the 1850s, Lynchburg (along with New Bedford, Mass.) was one of the richest towns per capita in the U.S.[6] Chief industries were tobacco, iron and steel. Transportation facilities included the James River Bateau on the James River, and later, the James River and Kanawha Canal and, still later, four railroads, including the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad.

Early on, Lynchburg was not known for its religiosity. In 1804, evangelist Lorenzo Dow wrote of Lynchburg “… where I spoke in the open air in what I conceived to be the seat of Satan’s Kingdom. Lynchburg was a deadly place for the worship of God.” This was in reference to the lack of churches in Lynchburg. As the wealth of Lynchburg grew, prostitution and other “rowdy” activities became quite common and, in many cases, ignored, if not accepted, by the “powers that be” of the time. Much of this activity took place in an area of downtown referred to as the “Buzzard’s Roost[citation needed].”

During the American Civil War, Lynchburg, which served as a Confederate supply base, was approached within 1-mile (1.6km) by the Union forces of General David Hunter as he drove south from the Shenandoah Valley. Under the false impression that the Confederate forces stationed in Lynchburg were much larger than anticipated, Hunter was repelled by the forces of Confederate General Jubal Early on June 18, 1864, in the Battle of Lynchburg. To create the false impression, a train was continuously run up and down the tracks while the citizens of Lynchburg cheered as if reinforcements were unloading. Local prostitutes took part in the deception, misinforming their Union clients of the large number of Confederate reinforcements.

From April 610, 1865, Lynchburg served as the Capital of Virginia. Under Governor William Smith, the executive and legislative branches of the commonwealth escaped to Lynchburg with the fall of Richmond. Then Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, roughly 20 miles east of Lynchburg, ending the Civil War.

In the latter 19th century, Lynchburg’s economy evolved into manufacturing (sometimes referred to as the “Pittsburgh of the South”) and, per capita, made the city one of the wealthiest in the United States. In 1880, Lynchburg resident James Albert Bonsack invented the first cigarette rolling machine. Shortly thereafter Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, a physician and pharmacological tinkerer, introduced the first mass marketed over-the-counter enema. About this time, Lynchburg was also the preferred site for the Norfolk & Western junction with the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. However, the citizens of Lynchburg did not want the junction due to the noise and pollution it would create. Therefore, it was located in what would become the City of Roanoke.

In the late 1950s, a number of interested citizens, including Virginia Senator Mosby G. Perrow, Jr., requested the federal government to change its long-planned route for the interstate highway now known as I-64 between Clifton Forge and Richmond.[7] Since the 1940s, maps of the federal interstate highway system depicted that highway taking a northern route, with no interstate highway running through Lynchburg, but the federal government assured Virginia that the highway’s route would be decided by the state.[8] A proposed southern route called for the Interstate to follow from Richmond via US-360 and US-460, via Lynchburg to Roanoke and US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then west following US-60 into West Virginia. Although the State Highway Commission’s minutes reflected its initial approval of the northern route, the issue remained in play,[9] proponents of the southern route ultimately succeeded in persuading a majority of Virginia Highway Commissioners to support the change after a study championed by Perrow demonstrated that it would serve a greater percentage of the state’s manufacturing and textile centers. But in July 1961 Governor Lindsay Almond and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges announced that the route would not be changed.[10] This left Lynchburg as the only city with a population in excess of 50,000 (at the time) not served by an interstate.[11]

For several decades throughout the mid-20th century, the state of Virginia authorized compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded for the purpose of eugenics. The operations were carried out at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, now known as the Central Virginia Training School, located just outside Lynchburg in Madison Heights. An estimated 8,300 Virginians were sterilized and relocated to Lynchburg, known as a “dumping ground” of sorts for the feeble-minded, poor, blind, epileptic, and those otherwise seen as genetically “unfit”.[12]

Sterilizations were carried out for 35 years until 1972, when operations were finally halted. Later in the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Virginia on behalf of the sterilization victims. As a result of this suit, the victims received formal apologies and counseling if they chose. Requests to grant the victims reverse sterilization operations were denied.

Carrie Buck, the plaintiff in the United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, was sterilized after being classified as “feeble-minded”, as part of the state’s eugenics program while she was a patient at the Lynchburg Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded.

The story of Carrie Buck’s sterilization and the court case was made into a television drama in 1994, Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story.

“Virginia State Epileptic Colony,” a song by the Manic Street Preachers on their 2009 album ‘Journal For Plague Lovers,’ addresses the state’s program of eugenics.

Downtown Lynchburg has seen a significant amount of revitalization since 2002 with hundreds of new loft apartments created through adaptive reuse of historic warehouses and mills. Since 2000, there has been more than $110 million in private investment in downtown and business activity increased by 205% from 2004 – 2014.[13] In 2014, 75 new apartments were added to downtown with 155 further units under construction increasing the number of housing units downtown by 48% from 2010 – 2014.[14] In 2015, the $5.8 million Lower Bluffwalk pedestrian street zone opened to the public in downtown which has seen a significant amount of residential and commercial development around the zone in recent years.[15] Notable projects underway in downtown by the end of 2015 include the $25 million Hilton Curio branded Virginian Hotel restoration project, $16.6 million restoration of the Academy Center of the Arts, and $4.6 million expansion of Amazement Square Children’s Museum. [16][17][18][19]

Over 40 sites in Lynchburg are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[20]

Lynchburg is located at 372413N 791012W / 37.40361N 79.17000W / 37.40361; -79.17000 (37.403672, 79.170205).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.6 square miles (128.5km2), of which 49.2 square miles (127.4km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3km2) (1.0%) is water.[21]

Lynchburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Kppen Cfa), with cool winters and hot, humid summers. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 35.1F (1.7C) in January to 75.3F (24.1C) in July. Nights tend to be significantly cooler than days throughout much of the year due in part to the moderate elevation. In a typical year, there are 26 days with a high temperature 90F (32C) or above, and 7.5 days with a high of 32F (0C) or below.[22] Snowfall averages 12.9 inches (33cm) per season but this amount varies highly with each winter; the snowiest winter is 199596 with 56.8in (144cm) of snow, but the following winter recorded only trace amounts, the least on record.[23]

Temperature extremes range from 106F (41C), recorded on July 10, 1936, down to 11F (24C), recorded on February 20, 2015.[22] However, several decades may pass between 100F (38C) and 0F (18C) readings, with the last such occurrences being July 8, 2012 and February 20, 2015, respectively.[22]

As of the 2010 census,[31] there were 75,568 people, 25,477 households, and 31,992 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,321.5 people per square mile (510.2/km). There were 27,640 housing units at an average density of 559.6 per square mile (216.1/km). The racial makeup of the city was 63.0% White, 29.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 25,477 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.

The age distribution of the city had: 22.1% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,234, and the median income for a family was $40,844. Males had a median income of $31,390 versus $22,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,263. About 12.3% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Lynchburg ranks below the 2006 median annual household income for the U.S. as a whole, which was $48,200, according to the US Census Bureau.[32]

The city’s population was stable for 25+ years: in 2006, it was 67,720; in 2000, it was 65,269; in 1990, it was 66,049; in 1980, it was 66,743.[33]

In 2009 almost 27% of Lynchburg children lived in poverty. The state average that year was 14 percent.[34]

Lynchburg features a skilled labor force, low unemployment rate,[35] and below average cost of living. Of Virginia’s larger metro areas, Forbes Magazine ranked Lynchburg the 5th best place in Virginia for business in 2006, with Virginia being the best state in the country for business.[36] Only 6 places in Virginia were surveyed and most of Virginia’s cities were grouped together by Forbes as “Northern Virginia”. Lynchburg achieved the rank 109 in the whole nation in the same survey.

Industries within the Lynchburg MSA include nuclear technology, pharmaceuticals and material handling. A diversity of small businesses with the region has helped maintain a stable economy and minimized the downturns of the national economy.[37][38] Reaching as high as 1st place (tied) in 2007, Lynchburg has been within the Top 10 Digital Cities survey for its population since the survey’s inception in 2004.

The Lynchburg News & Advance reports that while more people are working than ever in greater Lynchburg, wages since 1990 have not kept up with inflation. Central Virginia Labor Council President Walter Fore believes this is due to lack of white-collar jobs. According to the Census Bureau, adjusted for inflation, 1990 median household income was about $39,000 compared to 2009 median household income of $42,740. As of 2009 Forbes has named Lynchburg as the 70th best metro area for business and careers, ahead of Chicago and behind Baton Rouge. The reason for the decent ranking was due to the low cost of living and low wages in Lynchburg. In other areas, the region didn’t come in as strong. It ranked at 189 for cultural and leisure and at 164 for educational attainment.[39]

Virginia Business Magazine reports that Young Professionals in Lynchburg recently conducted a study that clearly showed how much of its young workforce has been lost.[40]

According to Lynchburg’s 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[41] the top private employers in the city are:

The city is served by the Lynchburg City Public Schools. The school board is appointed by the Lynchburg City Council.

The city is also home to a number of mostly religious private schools, including Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, James River Day School, Liberty Christian Academy, New Covenant Classical Christian School, Appomattox Christian Academy, Temple Christian School, and Virginia Episcopal School.

Lynchburg is also home to the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology located in Heritage High School. This magnet school consists of juniors and seniors selected from each of the Lynchburg area high schools. As one of eighteen Governor’s Schools in Virginia, the Central Virginia Governor’s School focuses on infusing technology into both the math and science curriculum.

Further education options include a number of surrounding county public school systems.

Colleges and universities in Lynchburg include Central Virginia Community College, Liberty University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College, Sweet Briar College, and Virginia University of Lynchburg.

The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) operates the local public transport bus service within the city. The GLTC additionally provides the shuttle bus service on the Liberty University campus.

The GLTC has selected a property directly across from Lynchburg-Kemper Street Station as its top choice of sites upon which to build the new transfer center for their network of public buses. They are interested in facilitating intermodal connections between GLTC buses and the intercity bus and rail services which operate from that location. The project is awaiting final government approval and funding, and is expected to be completed around 2013.[42]

Intercity passenger rail and bus services are based out of Kemper Street Station, a historic, three-story train station recently restored and converted by the city of Lynchburg to serve as an intermodal hub for the community. The station is located at 825 Kemper Street.[43]

Greyhound Lines located their bus terminal in the main floor of Kemper Street Station following its 2002 restoration.[43] Greyhound offers transport to other cities throughout Virginia, the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Amtrak’s long distance Crescent and a Northeast Regional connect Lynchburg with Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and intermediate points.

In October 2009, Lynchburg became the southern terminus for a Northeast Regional that previously had overnighted in Washington. The forecast ridership was 51,000 for the 180-mile extension’s first year, but the actual count was triple that estimate, and the train paid for itself without any subsidy.[44] By FY 2015, the Regional had 190,000 riders. The Lynchburg station alone served a total of 85,000 riders in 2015. It is located in the track level ground floor of Kemper Street Station.[45]

Lynchburg has two major freight railroads. It is the crossroads of two Norfolk Southern lines. One is the former mainline of the Southern Railway, upon which Kemper Street Station is situated. NS has a classification yard located next to the shopping mall. Various yard jobs can be seen. Railfans who wish to visit the NS Lynchburg yard are advised to inquire with an NS official. CSX Transportation also has a line through the city and a small yard.

Lynchburg Regional Airport is solely served by American Eagle to Charlotte. American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, is the only current scheduled airline service provider, with seven daily arrivals and departures. In recent years air travel has increased with 157,517 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2012, representing 78% of the total aircraft load factor for that time period.

Primary roadways include U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 501, U.S. Route 221, running north-south, and U.S. Highway 460, running east-west. While not served by an interstate, much of Route 29 has been upgraded to interstate standards and significant improvements have been made to Highway 460.

In a Forbes magazine survey, Lynchburg ranked 189 for cultural and leisure out of 200 cities surveyed.[39]

The following attractions are located within the Lynchburg MSA:

Lynchburg is home to sporting events and organizations including:

The first neighborhoods of Lynchburg developed upon seven hills adjacent to the original ferry landing. These neighborhoods include:

Other major neighborhoods include Boonsboro, Rivermont, Fairview Heights, Fort Hill, Forest Hill (Old Forest Rd. Area), Timberlake, Windsor Hills, Sandusky, Linkhorne, and Wyndhurst.

Notable residents of Lynchburg include:

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Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Kansas City SEO Search Engine Optimization

 SEO  Comments Off on Kansas City SEO Search Engine Optimization
Apr 182016
 

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Beaches Closest to Reading, Pennsylvania | USA Today

 Beaches  Comments Off on Beaches Closest to Reading, Pennsylvania | USA Today
Apr 032016
 

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Caitlin Duke, Demand Media

Oceanfront beaches in New Jersey are only a day trip away from Reading. (Photo: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images )

Thoughts of Reading, Pennsylvania, are not likely to conjure up images of sunbathing on a windswept beach while the waves lap the sand a few feet away. Though this city of 88,000 is not on the water, a number of lake and river beaches are within the state. If you’re looking for something grander, a smattering of large and small beaches are on the coast, just a few hours away.

The beach at Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport, Pennsylvania, may be small, but it is certainly convenient. Just a 20-minute drive northwest of Reading, this man-made lake covers a good deal of ground — 1,147 acres of water area, to be precise. The lake allows swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing and scuba diving during the summer months, while winter adventurers can enjoy ice boating, ice fishing and ice skating. The park surrounding the lake has over 36 miles of trails, open to pedestrians, equestrians and bicyclists.

Mt. Gretna Lake and Beach, in Pennsylvania, provides a premium beach experience without a lengthy drive. Under an hour due west of Reading, the facility rests on the banks of the stream-fed Lake Conewago. An admission fee is charged to access Mt. Gretna’s 300-square-foot beach and groves, but the facilities are well worth it. Mt. Gretna has lifeguards on duty in protected swimming areas, canoe and kayak rentals, two diving boards and a water swing.

Within a two-hour drive to the east and north of Reading, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania boasts two grassy beaches open to the public. Both Milford Beach, near the town of Milford, and Smithfield Beach, near Delaware Water Gap, charge entrance fees for cars, bicyclists and pedestrians. Visitors enjoy boat and canoe launches and picnic areas, and access is available to the Joseph M. McDade Recreational Trail for avid hikers.

Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park at Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, is just a couple of hours away, directly to the east of Reading on the New Jersey coast. The 38-acre park is open year-round, with parking and entrance fees during the summer months. Enjoy a round of beach volleyball on the court or venture into open water on a kayak or canoe. Lifeguards are on duty in protected areas of the beach, which is also open to surfers.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Caitlin Duke has written on travel and relationships for Time.com. She has crisscrossed the country several times, and relishes discovering new points on the map. As a credentialed teacher, she also has a strong background in issues facing families today.

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Beaches Closest to Reading, Pennsylvania | USA Today

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The Abolition of Work–Bob Black – Primitivism

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Mar 262016
 

The Abolition of Work

Bob Black

No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a *ludic* conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act. Oblomovism and Stakhanovism are two sides of the same debased coin.

The ludic life is totally incompatible with existing reality. So much the worse for “reality,” the gravity hole that sucks the vitality from the little in life that still distinguishes it from mere survival. Curiously — or maybe not — all the old ideologies are conservative because they believe in work. Some of them, like Marxism and most brands of anarchism, believe in work all the more fiercely because they believe in so little else.

Liberals say we should end employment discrimination. I say we should end employment. Conservatives support right-to-work laws. Following Karl Marx’s wayward son-in-law Paul Lafargue I support the right to be lazy. Leftists favor full employment. Like the surrealists — except that I’m not kidding — I favor full *un*employment. Trotskyists agitate for permanent revolution. I agitate for permanent revelry. But if all the ideologues (as they do) advocate work — and not only because they plan to make other people do theirs — they are strangely reluctant to say so. They will carry on endlessly about wages, hours, working conditions, exploitation, productivity, profitability. They’ll gladly talk about anything but work itself. These experts who offer to do our thinking for us rarely share their conclusions about work, for all its saliency in the lives of all of us. Among themselves they quibble over the details. Unions and management agree that we ought to sell the time of our lives in exchange for survival, although they haggle over the price. Marxists think we should be bossed by bureaucrats. Libertarians think we should be bossed by businessmen. Feminists don’t care which form bossing takes so long as the bosses are women. Clearly these ideology-mongers have serious differences over how to divvy up the spoils of power. Just as clearly, none of them have any objection to power as such and all of them want to keep us working.

You may be wondering if I’m joking or serious. I’m joking *and* serious. To be ludic is not to be ludicrous. Play doesn’t have to be frivolous, although frivolity isn’t triviality: very often we ought to take frivolity seriously. I’d like life to be a game — but a game with high stakes. I want to play *for* *keeps*.

The alternative to work isn’t just idleness. To be ludic is not to be quaaludic. As much as I treasure the pleasure of torpor, it’s never more rewarding than when it punctuates other pleasures and pastimes. Nor am I promoting the managed time-disciplined safety-valve called “leisure”; far from it. Leisure is nonwork for the sake of work. Leisure is the time spent recovering from work and in the frenzied but hopeless attempt to forget about work. Many people return from vacation so beat that they look forward to returning to work so they can rest up. The main difference between work and leisure is that work at least you get paid for your alienation and enervation.

I am not playing definitional games with anybody. When I say I want to abolish work, I mean just what I say, but I want to say what I mean by defining my terms in non-idiosyncratic ways. My minimum definition of work is *forced* *labor*, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick. (The carrot is just the stick by other means.) But not all creation is work. Work is never done for its own sake, it’s done on account of some product or output that the worker (or, more often, somebody else) gets out of it. This is what work necessarily is. To define it is to despise it. But work is usually even worse than its definition decrees. The dynamic of domination intrinsic to work tends over time toward elaboration. In advanced work-riddled societies, including all industrial societies whether capitalist of “Communist,” work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness.

Usually — and this is even more true in “Communist” than capitalist countries, where the state is almost the only employer and everyone is an employee — work is employment, i. e., wage-labor, which means selling yourself on the installment plan. Thus 95% of Americans who work, work for somebody (or some*thing*) else. In the USSR or Cuba or Yugoslavia or any other alternative model which might be adduced, the corresponding figure approaches 100%. Only the embattled Third World peasant bastions — Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey — temporarily shelter significant concentrations of agriculturists who perpetuate the traditional arrangement of most laborers in the last several millenia, the payment of taxes (= ransom) to the state or rent to parasitic landlords in return for being otherwise left alone. Even this raw deal is beginning to look good. *All* industrial (and office) workers are employees and under the sort of surveillance which ensures servility.

But modern work has worse implications. People don’t just work, they have “jobs.” One person does one productive task all the time on an or-else basis. Even if the task has a quantum of intrinsic interest (as increasingly many jobs don’t) the monotony of its obligatory exclusivity drains its ludic potential. A “job” that might engage the energies of some people, for a reasonably limited time, for the fun of it, is just a burden on those who have to do it for forty hours a week with no say in how it should be done, for the profit of owners who contribute nothing to the project, and with no opportunity for sharing tasks or spreading the work among those who actually have to do it. This is the real world of work: a world of bureaucratic blundering, of sexual harassment and discrimination, of bonehead bosses exploiting and scapegoating their subordinates who — by any rational-technical criteria — should be calling the shots. But capitalism in the real world subordinates the rational maximization of productivity and profit to the exigencies of organizational control.

The degradation which most workers experience on the job is the sum of assorted indignities which can be denominated as “discipline.” Foucault has complexified this phenomenon but it is simple enough. Discipline consists of the totality of totalitarian controls at the workplace — surveillance, rotework, imposed work tempos, production quotas, punching -in and -out, etc. Discipline is what the factory and the office and the store share with the prison and the school and the mental hospital. It is something historically original and horrible. It was beyond the capacities of such demonic dictators of yore as Nero and Genghis Khan and Ivan the Terrible. For all their bad intentions they just didn’t have the machinery to control their subjects as thoroughly as modern despots do. Discipline is the distinctively diabolical modern mode of control, it is an innovative intrusion which must be interdicted at the earliest opportunity.

Such is “work.” Play is just the opposite. Play is always voluntary. What might otherwise be play is work if it’s forced. This is axiomatic. Bernie de Koven has defined play as the “suspension of consequences.” This is unacceptable if it implies that play is inconsequential. The point is not that play is without consequences. This is to demean play. The point is that the consequences, if any, are gratuitous. Playing and giving are closely related, they are the behavioral and transactional facets of the same impulse, the play-instinct. They share an aristocratic disdain for results. The player gets something out of playing; that’s why he plays. But the core reward is the experience of the activity itself (whatever it is). Some otherwise attentive students of play, like Johan Huizinga (*Homo* *Ludens*), *define* it as game-playing or following rules. I respect Huizinga’s erudition but emphatically reject his constraints. There are many good games (chess, baseball, Monopoly, bridge) which are rule-governed but there is much more to play than game-playing. Conversation, sex, dancing, travel — these practices aren’t rule-governed but they are surely play if anything is. And rules can be *played* *with* at least as readily as anything else.

Work makes a mockery of freedom. The official line is that we all have rights and live in a democracy. Other unfortunates who aren’t free like we are have to live in police states. These victims obey orders or-else, no matter how arbitrary. The authorities keep them under regular surveillance. State bureaucrats control even the smaller details of everyday life. The officials who push them around are answerable only to higher-ups, public or private. Either way, dissent and disobedience are punished. Informers report regularly to the authorities. All this is supposed to be a very bad thing.

And so it is, although it is nothing but a description of the modern workplace. The liberals and conservatives and libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phonies and hypocrites. There is more freedom in any moderately deStalinized dictatorship than there is in the ordinary American workplace. You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or monastery. In fact, as Foucault and others have shown, prisons and factories came in at about the same time, and their operators consciously borrowed from each other’s control techniques. A worker is a par-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called “insubordination,” just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. Without necessarily endorsing it for them either, it is noteworthy that children at home and in school receive much the same treatment, justified in their case by their supposed immaturity. What does this say about their parents and teachers who work?

The demeaning system of domination I’ve described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. For certain purposes it’s not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or — better still — industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy. Anybody who says these people are “free” is lying or stupid. You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to heirarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias. Their obedience training at work carries over into the families *they* start, thus reproducing the system in more ways than one, and into politics, culture and everything else. Once you drain the vitality from people at work, they’ll likely submit to heirarchy and expertise in everything. They’re used to it.

We are so close to the world of work that we can’t see what it does to us. We have to rely on outside observers from other times or other cultures to appreciate the extremity and the pathology of our present position. There was a time in our own past when the “work ethic” would have been incomprehensible, and perhaps Weber was on to something when he tied its appearance to a religion, Calvinism, which if it emerged today instead of four centuries ago would immediately and appropriately be labeled a cult. Be that as it may, we have only to draw upon the wisdom of antiquity to put work in perspective. The ancients saw work for what it is, and their view prevailed, the Calvinist cranks notwithstanding, until overthrown by industrialism — but not before receiving the endorsement of its prophets.

Let’s pretend for a moment that work doesn’t turn people into stultified submissives. Let’s pretend, in defiance of any plausible psychology and the ideology of its boosters, that it has no effect on the formation of character. And let’s pretend that work isn’t as boring and tiring and humiliating as we all know it really is. Even then, work would *still* make a mockery of all humanistic and democratic aspirations, just because it usurps so much of our time. Socrates said that manual laborers make bad friends and bad citizens because they have no time to fulfill the responsibilities of friendship and citizenship. He was right. Because of work, no matter what we do we keep looking at out watches. The only thing “free” about so-called free time is that it doesn’t cost the boss anything. Free time is mostly devoted to getting ready for work, going to work, returning from work, and recovering from work. Free time is a euphemism for the peculiar way labor as a factor of production not only transports itself at its own expense to and from the workplace but assumes primary responsibility for its own maintenance and repair. Coal and steel don’t do that. Lathes and typewriters don’t do that. But workers do. No wonder Edward G. Robinson in one of his gangster movies exclaimed, “Work is for saps!”

Both Plato and Xenophon attribute to Socrates and obviously share with him an awareness of the destructive effects of work on the worker as a citizen and a human being. Herodotus identified contempt for work as an attribute of the classical Greeks at the zenith of their culture. To take only one Roman example, Cicero said that “whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves.” His candor is now rare, but contemporary primitive societies which we are wont to look down upon have provided spokesmen who have enlightened Western anthropologists. The Kapauku of West Irian, according to Posposil, have a conception of balance in life and accordingly work only every other day, the day of rest designed “to regain the lost power and health.” Our ancestors, even as late as the eighteenth century when they were far along the path to our present predicament, at least were aware of what we have forgotten, the underside of industrialization. Their religious devotion to “St. Monday” — thus establishing a *de* *facto* five-day week 150-200 years before its legal consecration — was the despair of the earliest factory owners. They took a long time in submitting to the tyranny of the bell, predecessor of the time clock. In fact it was necessary for a generation or two to replace adult males with women accustomed to obedience and children who could be molded to fit industrial needs. Even the exploited peasants of the *ancien* *regime* wrested substantial time back from their landlord’s work. According to Lafargue, a fourth of the French peasants’ calendar was devoted to Sundays and holidays, and Chayanov’s figures from villages in Czarist Russia — hardly a progressive society — likewise show a fourth or fifth of peasants’ days devoted to repose. Controlling for productivity, we are obviously far behind these backward societies. The exploited *muzhiks* would wonder why any of us are working at all. So should we.

To grasp the full enormity of our deterioration, however, consider the earliest condition of humanity, without government or property, when we wandered as hunter-gatherers. Hobbes surmised that life was then nasty, brutish and short. Others assume that life was a desperate unremitting struggle for subsistence, a war waged against a harsh Nature with death and disaster awaiting the unlucky or anyone who was unequal to the challenge of the struggle for existence. Actually, that was all a projection of fears for the collapse of government authority over communities unaccustomed to doing without it, like the England of Hobbes during the Civil War. Hobbes’ compatriots had already encountered alternative forms of society which illustrated other ways of life — in North America, particularly — but already these were too remote from their experience to be understandable. (The lower orders, closer to the condition of the Indians, understood it better and often found it attractive. Throughout the seventeenth century, English settlers defected to Indian tribes or, captured in war, refused to return. But the Indians no more defected to white settlements than Germans climb the Berlin Wall from the west.) The “survival of the fittest” version — the Thomas Huxley version — of Darwinism was a better account of economic conditions in Victorian England than it was of natural selection, as the anarchist Kropotkin showed in his book *Mutual* *Aid,* *A* *Factor* *of* *Evolution*. (Kropotkin was a scientist — a geographer — who’d had ample involuntary opportunity for fieldwork whilst exiled in Siberia: he knew what he was talking about.) Like most social and political theory, the story Hobbes and his successors told was really unacknowledged autobiography.

The anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, surveying the data on contemporary hunter-gatherers, exploded the Hobbesian myth in an article entitled “The Original Affluent Society.” They work a lot less than we do, and their work is hard to distinguish from what we regard as play. Sahlins concluded that “hunters and gatherers work less than we do; and rather than a continuous travail, the food quest is intermittent, leisure abundant, and there is a greater amount of sleep in the daytime per capita per year than in any other condition of society.” They worked an average of four hours a day, assuming they were “working” at all. Their “labor,” as it appears to us, was skilled labor which exercised their physical and intellectual capacities; unskilled labor on any large scale, as Sahlins says, is impossible except under industrialism. Thus it satisfied Friedrich Schiller’s definition of play, the only occasion on which man realizes his complete humanity by giving full “play” to both sides of his twofold nature, thinking and feeling. As he put it: “The animal *works* when deprivation is the mainspring of its activity, and it *plays* when the fullness of its strength is this mainspring, when superabundant life is its own stimulus to activity.” (A modern version — dubiously developmental — is Abraham Maslow’s counterposition of “deficiency” and “growth” motivation.) Play and freedom are, as regards production, coextensive. Even Marx, who belongs (for all his good intentions) in the productivist pantheon, observed that “the realm of freedom does not commence until the point is passed where labor under the compulsion of necessity and external utility is required.” He never could quite bring himself to identify this happy circumstance as what it is, the abolition of work — it’s rather anomalous, after all, to be pro-worker and anti-work — but we can.

The aspiration to go backwards or forwards to a life without work is evident in every serious social or cultural history of pre-industrial Europe, among them M. Dorothy George’s *England* In* *Transition* and Peter Burke’s *Popular* *Culture* *in* *Early* *Modern* *Europe*. Also pertinent is Daniel Bell’s essay, “Work and its Discontents,” the first text, I believe, to refer to the “revolt against work” in so many words and, had it been understood, an important correction to the complacency ordinarily associated with the volume in which it was collected, *The* *End* *of* *Ideology*. Neither critics nor celebrants have noticed that Bell’s end-of-ideology thesis signaled not the end of social unrest but the beginning of a new, uncharted phase unconstrained and uninformed by ideology. It was Seymour Lipset (in *Political* *Man*), not Bell, who announced at the same time that “the fundamental problems of the Industrial Revolution have been solved,” only a few years before the post- or meta-industrial discontents of college students drove Lipset from UC Berkeley to the relative (and temporary) tranquility of Harvard.

As Bell notes, Adam Smith in *The* *Wealth* *of* *Nations*, for all his enthusiasm for the market and the division of labor, was more alert to (and more honest about) the seamy side of work than Ayn Rand or the Chicago economists or any of Smith’s modern epigones. As Smith observed: “The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose life is spent in performing a few simple operations… has no occasion to exert his understanding… He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.” Here, in a few blunt words, is my critique of work. Bell, writing in 1956, the Golden Age of Eisenhower imbecility and American self-satisfaction, identified the unorganized, unorganizable malaise of the 1970’s and since, the one no political tendency is able to harness, the one identified in HEW’s report *Work* *in* *America*, the one which cannot be exploited and so is ignored. That problem is the revolt against work. It does not figure in any text by any laissez-faire economist — Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Richard Posner — because, in their terms, as they used to say on *Star* *Trek*, “it does not compute.”

If these objections, informed by the love of liberty, fail to persuade humanists of a utilitarian or even paternalist turn, there are others which they cannot disregard. Work is hazardous to your health, to borrow a book title. In fact, work is mass murder or genocide. Directly or indirectly, work will kill most of the people who read these words. Between 14,000 and 25,000 workers are killed annually in this country on the job. Over two million are disabled. Twenty to twenty-five million are injured every year. And these figures are based on a very conservative estimation of what constitutes a work-related injury. Thus they don’t count the half million cases of occupational disease every year. I looked at one medical textbook on occupational diseases which was 1,200 pages long. Even this barely scratches the surface. The available statistics count the obvious cases like the 100,000 miners who have black lung disease, of whom 4,000 die every year, a much higher fatality rate than for AIDS, for instance, which gets so much media attention. This reflects the unvoiced assumption that AIDS afflicts perverts who could control their depravity whereas coal-mining is a sacrosanct activity beyond question. What the statistics don’t show is that tens of millions of people have heir lifespans shortened by work — which is all that homicide means, after all. Consider the doctors who work themselves to death in their 50’s. Consider all the other workaholics.

Even if you aren’t killed or crippled while actually working, you very well might be while going to work, coming from work, looking for work, or trying to forget about work. The vast majority of victims of the automobile are either doing one of these work-obligatory activities or else fall afoul of those who do them. To this augmented body-count must be added the victims of auto-industrial pollution and work-induced alcoholism and drug addiction. Both cancer and heart disease are modern afflictions normally traceable, directly, or indirectly, to work.

Work, then, institutionalizes homicide as a way of life. People think the Cambodians were crazy for exterminating themselves, but are we any different? The Pol Pot regime at least had a vision, however blurred, of an egalitarian society. We kill people in the six-figure range (at least) in order to sell Big Macs and Cadillacs to the survivors. Our forty or fifty thousand annual highway fatalities are victims, not martyrs. They died for nothing — or rather, they died for work. But work is nothing to die for.

Bad news for liberals: regulatory tinkering is useless in this life-and-death context. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was designed to police the core part of the problem, workplace safety. Even before Reagan and the Supreme Court stifled it, OSHA was a farce. At previous and (by current standards) generous Carter-era funding levels, a workplace could expect a random visit from an OSHA inspector once every 46 years.

State control of the economy is no solution. Work is, if anything, more dangerous in the state-socialist countries than it is here. Thousands of Russian workers were killed or injured building the Moscow subway. Stories reverberate about covered-up Soviet nuclear disasters which make Times Beach and Three-Mile Island look like elementary-school air-raid drills. On the other hand, deregulation, currently fashionable, won’t help and will probably hurt. From a health and safety standpoint, among others, work was at its worst in the days when the economy most closely approximated laissez-faire.

Historians like Eugene Genovese have argued persuasively that — as antebellum slavery apologists insisted — factory wage-workers in the Northern American states and in Europe were worse off than Southern plantation slaves. No rearrangement of relations among bureaucrats and businessmen seems to make much difference at the point of production. Serious enforcement of even the rather vague standards enforceable in theory by OSHA would probably bring the economy to a standstill. The enforcers apparently appreciate this, since they don’t even try to crack down on most malefactors.

What I’ve said so far ought not to be controversial. Many workers are fed up with work. There are high and rising rates of absenteeism, turnover, employee theft and sabotage, wildcat strikes, and overall goldbricking on the job. There may be some movement toward a conscious and not just visceral rejection of work. And yet the prevalent feeling, universal among bosses and their agents and also widespread among workers themselves is that work itself is inevitable and necessary.

I disagree. It is now possible to abolish work and replace it, insofar as it serves useful purposes, with a multitude of new kinds of free activities. To abolish work requires going at it from two directions, quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, on the quantitative side, we have to cut down massively on the amount of work being done. At present most work is useless or worse and we should simply get rid of it. On the other hand — and I think this the crux of the matter and the revolutionary new departure — we have to take what useful work remains and transform it into a pleasing variety of game-like and craft-like pastimes, indistinguishable from other pleasurable pastimes, except that they happen to yield useful end-products. Surely that shouldn’t make them *less* enticing to do. Then all the artificial barriers of power and property could come down. Creation could become recreation. And we could all stop being afraid of each other.

I don’t suggest that most work is salvageable in this way. But then most work isn’t worth trying to save. Only a small and diminishing fraction of work serves any useful purpose independent of the defense and reproduction of the work-system and its political and legal appendages. Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that just five percent of the work then being done — presumably the figure, if accurate, is lower now — would satisfy our minimal needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops, stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them. There is a snowball effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkeys and underlings also. Thus the economy *implodes*.

Forty percent of the workforce are white-collar workers, most of whom have some of the most tedious and idiotic jobs ever concocted. Entire industries, insurance and banking and real estate for instance, consist of nothing but useless paper-shuffling. It is no accident that the “tertiary sector,” the service sector, is growing while the “secondary sector” (industry) stagnates and the “primary sector” (agriculture) nearly disappears. Because work is unnecessary except to those whose power it secures, workers are shifted from relatively useful to relatively useless occupations as a measure to assure public order. Anything is better than nothing. That’s why you can’t go home just because you finish early. They want your *time*, enough of it to make you theirs, even if they have no use for most of it. Otherwise why hasn’t the average work week gone down by more than a few minutes in the past fifty years?

Next we can take a meat-cleaver to production work itself. No more war production, nuclear power, junk food, feminine hygiene deodorant — and above all, no more auto industry to speak of. An occasional Stanley Steamer or Model-T might be all right, but the auto-eroticism on which such pestholes as Detroit and Los Angeles depend on is out of the question. Already, without even trying, we’ve virtually solved the energy crisis, the environmental crisis and assorted other insoluble social problems.

Finally, we must do away with far and away the largest occupation, the one with the longest hours, the lowest pay and some of the most tedious tasks around. I refer to *housewives* doing housework and child-rearing. By abolishing wage-labor and achieving full unemployment we undermine the sexual division of labor. The nuclear family as we know it is an inevitable adaptation to the division of labor imposed by modern wage-work. Like it or not, as things have been for the last century or two it is economically rational for the man to bring home the bacon, for the woman to do the shitwork to provide him with a haven in a heartless world, and for the children to be marched off to youth concentration camps called “schools,” primarily to keep them out of Mom’s hair but still under control, but incidentally to acquire the habits of obedience and punctuality so necessary for workers. If you would be rid of patriarchy, get rid of the nuclear family whose unpaid “shadow work,” as Ivan Illich says, makes possible the work-system that makes *it* necessary. Bound up with this no-nukes strategy is the abolition of childhood and the closing of the schools. There are more full-time students than full-time workers in this country. We need children as teachers, not students. They have a lot to contribute to the ludic revolution because they’re better at playing than grown-ups are. Adults and children are not identical but they will become equal through interdependence. Only play can bridge the generation gap.

I haven’t as yet even mentioned the possibility of cutting way down on the little work that remains by automating and cybernizing it. All the scientists and engineers and technicians freed from bothering with war research and planned obsolescence would have a good time devising means to eliminate fatigue and tedium and danger from activities like mining. Undoubtedly they’ll find other projects to amuse themselves with. Perhaps they’ll set up world-wide all-inclusive multi-media communications systems or found space colonies. Perhaps. I myself am no gadget freak. I wouldn’t care to live in a pushbutton paradise. I don’t what robot slaves to do everything; I want to do things myself. There is, I think, a place for labor-saving technology, but a modest place. The historical and pre-historical record is not encouraging. When productive technology went from hunting-gathering to agriculture and on to industry, work increased while skills and self-determination diminished. The further evolution of industrialism has accentuated what Harry Braverman called the degradation of work. Intelligent observers have always been aware of this. John Stuart Mill wrote that all the labor-saving inventions ever devised haven’t saved a moment’s labor. Karl Marx wrote that “it would be possible to write a history of the inventions, made since 1830, for the sole purpose of supplying capital with weapons against the revolts of the working class.” The enthusiastic technophiles — Saint-Simon, Comte, Lenin, B. F. Skinner — have always been unabashed authoritarians also; which is to say, technocrats. We should be more than sceptical about the promises of the computer mystics. *They* work like dogs; chances are, if they have their way, so will the rest of us. But if they have any particularized contributions more readily subordinated to human purposes than the run of high tech, let’s give them a hearing.

What I really want to see is work turned into play. A first step is to discard the notions of a “job” and an “occupation.” Even activities that already have some ludic content lose most of it by being reduced to jobs which certain people, and only those people are forced to do to the exclusion of all else. Is it not odd that farm workers toil painfully in the fields while their air-conditioned masters go home every weekend and putter about in their gardens? Under a system of permanent revelry, we will witness the Golden Age of the dilettante which will put the Renaissance to shame. There won’t be any more jobs, just things to do and people to do them.

The secret of turning work into play, as Charles Fourier demonstrated, is to arrange useful activities to take advantage of whatever it is that various people at various times in fact enjoy doing. To make it possible for some people to do the things they could enjoy it will be enough just to eradicate the irrationalities and distortions which afflict these activities when they are reduced to work. I, for instance, would enjoy doing some (not too much) teaching, but I don’t want coerced students and I don’t care to suck up to pathetic pedants for tenure.

Second, there are some things that people like to do from time to time, but not for too long, and certainly not all the time. You might enjoy baby-sitting for a few hours in order to share the company of kids, but not as much as their parents do. The parents meanwhile, profoundly appreciate the time to themselves that you free up for them, although they’d get fretful if parted from their progeny for too long. These differences among individuals are what make a life of free play possible. The same principle applies to many other areas of activity, especially the primal ones. Thus many people enjoy cooking when they can practice it seriously at their leisure, but not when they’re just fueling up human bodies for work.

Third — other things being equal — some things that are unsatisfying if done by yourself or in unpleasant surroundings or at the orders of an overlord are enjoyable, at least for a while, if these circumstances are changed. This is probably true, to some extent, of all work. People deploy their otherwise wasted ingenuity to make a game of the least inviting drudge-jobs as best they can. Activities that appeal to some people don’t always appeal to all others, but everyone at least potentially has a variety of interests and an interest in variety. As the saying goes, “anything once.” Fourier was the master at speculating how aberrant and perverse penchants could be put to use in post-civilized society, what he called Harmony. He thought the Emperor Nero would have turned out all right if as a child he could have indulged his taste for bloodshed by working in a slaughterhouse. Small children who notoriously relish wallowing in filth could be organized in “Little Hordes” to clean toilets and empty the garbage, with medals awarded to the outstanding. I am not arguing for these precise examples but for the underlying principle, which I think makes perfect sense as one dimension of an overall revolutionary transformation. Bear in mind that we don’t have to take today’s work just as we find it and match it up with the proper people, some of whom would have to be perverse indeed. If technology has a role in all this it is less to automate work out of existence than to open up new realms for re/creation. To some extent we may want to return to handicrafts, which William Morris considered a probable and desirable upshot of communist revolution. Art would be taken back from the snobs and collectors, abolished as a specialized department catering to an elite audience, and its qualities of beauty and creation restored to integral life from which they were stolen by work. It’s a sobering thought that the grecian urns we write odes about and showcase in museums were used in their own time to store olive oil. I doubt our everyday artifacts will fare as well in the future, if there is one. The point is that there’s no such thing as progress in the world of work; if anything it’s just the opposite. We shouldn’t hesitate to pilfer the past for what it has to offer, the ancients lose nothing yet we are enriched.

The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps. There is, it is true, more suggestive speculation than most people suspect. Besides Fourier and Morris — and even a hint, here and there, in Marx — there are the writings of Kropotkin, the syndicalists Pataud and Pouget, anarcho-communists old (Berkman) and new (Bookchin). The Goodman brothers’ *Communitas* is exemplary for illustrating what forms follow from given functions (purposes), and there is something to be gleaned from the often hazy heralds of alternative/appropriate/intermediate/convivial technology, like Schumacher and especially Illich, once you disconnect their fog machines. The situationists — as represented by Vaneigem’s *Revolution* *of* *Daily* *Life* and in the *Situationist* *International* *Anthology* — are so ruthlessly lucid as to be exhilarating, even if they never did quite square the endorsement of the rule of the worker’s councils with the abolition of work. Better their incongruity, though than any extant version of leftism, whose devotees look to be the last champions of work, for if there were no work there would be no workers, and without workers, who would the left have to organize?

So the abolitionists would be largely on their own. No one can say what would result from unleashing the creative power stultified by work. Anything can happen. The tiresome debater’s problem of freedom vs. necessity, with its theological overtones, resolves itself practically once the production of use-values is coextensive with the consumption of delightful play-activity.

Life will become a game, or rather many games, but not — as it is now – — a zero/sum game. An optimal sexual encounter is the paradigm of productive play, The participants potentiate each other’s pleasures, nobody keeps score, and everybody wins. The more you give, the more you get. In the ludic life, the best of sex will diffuse into the better part of daily life. Generalized play leads to the libidinization of life. Sex, in turn, can become less urgent and desperate, more playful. If we play our cards right, we can all get more out of life than we put into it; but only if we play for keeps.

No one should ever work. Workers of the world… *relax*!

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The Abolition of Work–Bob Black – Primitivism

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An Introduction to Modern Satanism – ahftu.net

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Mar 262016
 

Prior to LaVey forming the Church of Satan, LaVey in the early to mid sixties would hold Midnight Masses at his Victorian home in San Francisco’s Richmond District. It would attract many high profile figures from the San Francisco area, which made LaVey somewhat of a local legend. This is what caused LaVey to start the “Satanic Church” later renamed the “Church of Satan” (often referred to “CoS” for short).

In 1969 LaVey wrote the Satanic Bible, which would prove to be the bedrock for modern Satanism. To date it has sold nearly 1,000,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into several languages.

The Church of Satan thrived vigorously in the late sixties and early seventies attracting many celebrities including Sammy Davis Jr., and Jayne Mansfield to name a couple.

In 1975 many changes occurred within the CoS, LaVey had done away with the Grotto system. A network of sub-churches setup across the country. Some structural re-organization had also been done.

It was at this time that Michael Aquino, member of the Church of Satan, broke away from the Church and formed his “Temple of Set.” Aquino maintained that LaVey had changed his stance from believing in an actual Satan to referring to it as more of a relative term. LaVey claimed that he had always referred to Satan as a “Dark force of Nature” rather than an actual deity.

Between 1970 and 1992 LaVey had written three other books. The Compleat Witch (Re-released as “The Satanic Witch”), The Satanic Rituals, and The Devil’s Notebook.

During this period in the ’80’s there was a wave of Satanic panic as many talk shows, news media, and various papers across the country began reporting on Satanic Serial Killers, and Groups of Satanists that were opening day care centers, molesting, and sacrificing children. This sparked an FBI investigation, which concluded that there was no such activity taking place.

Just after the release of the Devil’s Notebook in 1992 LaVey made a film entitled “Speak of the Devil” It was a documentary about the Anton LaVey, the history of Satanism, and the Church of Satan. It seemed to revive the Satanic movement a little but not nearly as much as would be seen in 1996.

A musician by the name of Marilyn Manson release an album entitled “Antichrist Superstar” which fueled a pop-culture trend of Goth teenagers proclaiming to be Satanists. Many of these children were nothing more than alienated teens that were simply rebelling against religion, and their parents.

This created a surge of attention for LaVey and the Church of Satan. A revitalized church had sky rocketing membership applications and a renewed interest in Satanism. Ironically in the midst of the Goth culture phenomenon LaVey would die of heart failure in his home on the night of Oct. 27, 1997.

The Aftermath of LaVey’s Death

Not surprisingly the death of LaVey created a frenzy in and outside of the Satanic community. Detractors came out from rocks to demystify, or debunk nearly all parts of LaVey’s personal and private life, and of course the Church of Satan itself.

Karla LaVey (Anton’s eldest daughter) and Blanche Barton (LaVey’s Biographer, and mother of his Son) had agreed to run the Church together as co-High Priestess’s. It was just after this agreement that Blanche produced a handwritten will and claimed that the Church, LaVey’s personal property, and all rights to LaVey’s writings were the sole property of Blanche, and LaVey’s youngest Son Xerxes.

Karla had contested the will citing a Doctors statement that LaVey was heavily medicated and had just come out of a death experience when he was coerced to write the Will. The Will was later invalidated and an agreement was made.

Feeling that her fathers personal items were more important than the organization itself Karla agreed to let Blanche have the “Organization known as Church of Satan” in return LaVey’s three children (Karla, Zeena, and Xerxes) were to equally divide his personal belongings, and the rights to his works.

During this time Blanche and clergy of the Church had begun a vicious campaign against Karla claiming she was not qualified to run the Church, had not contributed to the Church, and went through long periods of not speaking to her father.

In reality Karla LaVey had gone on numerous lecture tours at University’s regarding Satanism. Appeared on countless television talk shows and radio interviews, promoting the Church, her father’s work, and the philosophy itself. She was even featured on the Cover of Brazil’s most popular magazine giving an interview on the Satanism, and the Occult.

Karla then decided to form the “First Satanic Church” in 1999, an identical organization to her father’s old Church in order to carry on the family tradition. Her church is operating out of San Francisco just as her father had run the Church of Satan.

Blanche currently resides in San Diego, California and has no longer handles CoS administration. The Church of Satan is now run mostly online, based out of New York where memberships are processed, while still maintaining the P.O. Box in San Francisco for personal correspondence to Blanche.

A large number of new Satanic Churches have popped up since the death of LaVey in 1997. Most of them Internet based and lacking any real substance. That just seems to be par for the course these days.

A Word about Satanism Today

Satanism has always been about being an individual; it therefore makes sense that regardless of organizational politics the primary focus should be on the individual. It has become a bit clich yet it still holds true that you do not have to join any organization to be a Satanist. Only you can determine where you want to go in life.

In closing I would like to say that Satanism is the Bedrock philosophy of human existence. It is the philosophy that is your primer paint before you put several layers of other paints on the wall. It is the first stepping-stone in life’s journey for infinite knowledge. In the long run it’s really what keeps you grounded and your head out of the clouds.

I would encourage you to do your own research and studying on the subjects of Satanism & the Occult Sciences. Click below to learn a few basic tennets of Satanism.

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Libertarian History: A Reading List | Libertarianism.org

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Mar 232016
 

November 3, 2011 essays

A guide to books on the history of liberty and libertarianism.

The history of libertarianism is more than a series of scholarly statements on philosophy, economics, and the social sciences. It is the history of courageous men and women struggling to bring freedom to the lives of those living without it. The works on this list give important context to the ideas found on the others.

A History of Libertarianism by David Boaz

This essay, reprinted from Libertarianism: A Primer, covers the sweep of libertarian and pre-libertarian history, from Lao Tzu in the sixth century B.C. to the latest developments of the 21st century. Because its available for free on Libertarianism.org, the essay also includes numerous links to more information about major thinkers and their works. For a general sense of the rich history of the movement for liberty, this is easily the best place to start.

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn

Bernard Bailyns Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the ideas that influenced the American Revolution had a profound influence on our understanding of the republics origin by exposing its deeply libertarian foundations. Bailyn studied the many political pamphlets published between 1750 and 1776 and identified patterns of language, argument, and references to figures such as the radical Whigs and Cato the Younger. Because these were notions which men often saw little need to explain because they were so obvious, their understanding was assumed by the Founders and thus not immediately obvious to modern readers. When the Revolution is reexamined with Bailyns findings in mind, theres no way to escape the conclusion that America was always steeped in libertarian principles.

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty

The libertarian movement in America in the 20th century is the focus of this delightful history from Brian Dorhety. Radicals for Capitalism is more the story of the men and women who fought for freedom and limited government than it is an intellectual history of libertarian ideas. But it is an important story because it helps to place the contemporary debate about the place of libertarianism in American politics within the context of a major and long-lived social movement.

The Decline of American Liberalism by Arthur A. Ekirch Jr.

Ekirch traces the history of the liberal idea in the United States from the founding through World War II. He places the high point of true liberalism in the years immediately following the American Revolution, before the federal government began its long march of ever more centralized control over the country. And he shows how this shift has negatively impacted everything from global peace to the economy to individual autonomy.

Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade by Douglas A. Irwin

Ever since Adam Smiths Wealth of Nations appeared in 1776, the case for free tradeboth its economic benefits and its moral footingseemed settled. Yet in the ensuing two centuries, many have attempted to restrict freedom of trade with claims about its deleterious effects. Irwins Against the Tide traces the intellectual history of free trade from the early mercantilists, through Smith and the neoclassical economists, and to the present. He shows how free trade has withstood theoretical assaults from protectionists of all stripesand how it remains the most effective means for bringing prosperity and peace to people throughout the world.

The Triumph of Liberty: A 2,000 Year History Told Through the Lives of Freedoms Greatest Champions by Jim Powell

If Radicals for Capitalism is the tale of the men and women who fought for liberty in the 20th century, Jim Powells The Triumph of Liberty fills in the backstory. The book is an exhaustive collection of biographical articles on 65 major figures, from Marcus Tullius Cicero to Martin Luther King, Jr., summarizing their lives, thought, and impact. While not all of them were strictly libertarian, every one of the people Powell covers was instrumental in making the world a freer. For a grand sweep of libertys history through the lives of those who struggled in its name, theres no better source than The Triumph of Liberty.

How The West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation Of The Industrial World by Nathan Rosenberg and L. E. Birdzell Jr.

The central question that How the West Grew Rich addresses is precisely what its title implies. For thousands of years, human beings lived in unrelieved misery: hunger, famine, illiteracy, superstition, ignorance, pestilence and worse have been their lot. How did things change? How did a relatively few peoplethose in what we call the Westescape from grinding poverty into sustained economic growth and material well-being when most other societies remained trapped in an endless cycle of birth, hardship, and death? This fascinating book tells that story. The explanations that many historians have offeredclaiming that it was all due to science, or luck, or natural resources, or exploitations or imperialismare refuted at the outset, in the books opening chapter. Rosenberg and Birdzell are then free to provide an explanation that makes much more sense.

The State by Franz Oppenheimer

Much political philosophy begins with a social concept theory of the state. Mankind originally existed in a state of nature, and the state only arose when people came together and agreed to give up some of their liberties in exchange for protection of others. Oppenheimer rejects this rosy picture and replaces it with his much more realistic conquest theory, which finds the genesis of states in roving bands of marauders who eventually settled down and turned to taxation when they realized it was easier than perpetual raiding. The State also features Oppenheimers influential distinction between the two means by which man can set about fulfilling his needs: I propose in the following discussion to call ones own labor and the equivalent exchange of ones own labor for the labor of others, the economic means for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the political means.

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Cant Explain the Modern World by Deirdre McCloskey

In Bourgeois Dignity, McCloskey offers a different story of economic growth from the common one of capitalism and markets. The West grew rich, she argues, not simply because it embraced trade, but because its cultural ideas shifted, specifically in granting a sense of dignity to the bourgeoisie. It is that dignityand the rhetoric surrounding itthat sparked the Industrial Revolution and, in turn, lead to the modern world. Bourgeois Dignity traces the influence of these changing ideasand uses them to explain not just the rise of the West but also the recent, monumental growth of India and China. The book is the second in a four-volume series, The Bourgeois Era.

Aaron Ross Powell is a Cato Institute research fellow and founder and editor of Libertarianism.org, which presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co-host of Libertarianism.orgs popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

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Austin SEO Services Firm & Web Design Company

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Mar 212016
 

Complete Web Resources dominates local, national, and international search markets. Our strategy centers on playing the game smarter, faster and more effectively. We test algorithm changes obsessively, keep our costs incredibly low, and move sites in competitive markets obscenely fast. The website optimization tactics we employ enable companies and individuals to achieve optimal placements that stick and that generate lots of leads that turn into sales. We focus on ROI, and were here to do one thing, make you loads of money.

Were very good at this and as a result, highly confident that we can create value for clients every single month, so our search engine optimization campaigns are scheduled on a month-to-month, no long-term commitment basis, planning campaigns at the beginning of the month, and reporting at months end. You only have to sign up for one month to test out our service.

Our clients range from national brands, to hardcore e-commerce markets, to local Austin SEO and other local businesses across the country. The tools and strategies we employ evolve constantly and are custom tailored to every client based on type of business, ideal traffic, keyword competition, existing sites in the market, and so on. We research and develop new techniques continually to ensure our small business SEO services drive and maintain leading search placements.

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SEO Company | Utah | Be Locally SEO

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Mar 192016
 

Learn About SEO and Internet Marketing

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Our team of Internet marketing experts currently provides search engine optimization, AdWords management, website design, social media and other services to hundreds of businesses throughout the country. Our team consistently provides superior results for our nationwide clientele through cutting edge SEO and website development strategies. Be Locallys website design team has developed hundreds of websites for businesses in every industry.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your business to the top of search engine results for your target market and keywords. An effective SEO campaign will depend upon the geographic target market (local or national) and the competition for the industry or product sold.

Businesses targeting a local market require a Local SEO campaign. Local SEO entails a strong online presence, a social media presence, positive reviews and anywhere else your business appears online. Local SEO is attaching a geographical location to your business. Its especially important for brick and mortar stores in a city or region, or for service providers who want to focus on a few key areas. For example, a guitar lessons business in Salt Lake City really needs to make sure Salt Lake City customers find them easily when Googling guitar lessons salt lake city.

On the other hand, your businesss SEO campaign may be targeting a regional or national area. Be Locally SEO has the experience and team to propel eCommerce and other websites to the top of national rankings on Google and other search engines through SEO and AdWords PPC.

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China’s Answer To The Hubble Telescope | Popular Science

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Mar 172016
 

While China’s manned space program has been getting a lot of attention, the country is also becoming a superpower in space exploration and science. In 2016, during its parliamentary sessions, China announced its space telescope program, which will advance China into capabilities only previously held by programs like the U.S. Hubble space telescope.

Zhang Yulin, a Deputy to the National People’s Congress and former Chairman of aerospace contractor CASC, noted that the Chinese space telescope would have a 2+meter diameter lens with a field of view 300 times that of the Hubble Space telescope, while maintaining the same level of image resolution. With such a wide field of view, the space telescope could survey 40 percent of the cosmos in ten years. Zhou Jianping, the head of China’s manned space program, noted that such a wide field-of-view would create a higher fidelity image to search for dark matter, dark energy, and exoplanets. Even more notable than the capabilities, however, may be the plan for where to locate the telescope.

Zhang said that the Chinese space telescope would orbit close to a Chinese space station, likely the Tiangong 3, so that Chinese taikonauts would quickly service any problems, compared to the 3.5 year wait for NASA to correct the Hubble Telescope’s mirror problems. The Tiangong 3’s two 15-meter-long robotic arms would be very helpful in servicing the space telescope. Using a space station as a permanent support base for a satellite has not yet been tried before; neither Skylab, Mir, nor the ISS had any large satellites close by. To outfit the Tiangong 3 for such a mission, China would need to stockpile supplies of tools and spares to provide for prompt servicing of a space telescope, though new technology such as monitoring nanosatellites could make telescope repairs easier. As China masters this space operational concept, the experience gained could provide a boost to future space projects, such as asteroid mining and the in orbit assembly of manned missions to Mars.

You may also be interested in:

China to Launch Powerful Civilian Hyperspectral Satellite

Gaofen 4, the World’s Most Powerful Geo Spy Satellite, Continues China’s Great Leap Forward in Space

China’s Largest Ever Space Rocket Takes Another Big Step Forward

China Show Cases Plan to Become the Leading Space Power

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China’s Answer To The Hubble Telescope | Popular Science

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What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com

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Mar 172016
 

“That perfect liberty they sigh for– the liberty of making slaves of other people– Jefferson never thought of; their own father never thought of; they never thought of themselves, a year ago.” — Abraham Lincoln

Apparently someone’s curse worked: we live in interesting times, and among other consequences, for no good reason we have a surplus of libertarians. With this article I hope to help keep the demand low, or at least to explain to libertarian correspondents why they don’t impress me with comments like “You sure love letting people steal your money!”

This article has been rewritten, for two reasons. First, the original article had sidebars to address common objections. From several people’s reactions, it seems that they never read these. They’re now incorporated into the text.

Second, and more importantly, many people who call themselves libertarians didn’t recognize themselves in the description. There are libertarians and libertarians, and sometimes different camps despise each other– or don’t seem to be aware of each other.

If you–

…then this page isn’t really addressed to you. You’re probably more of what I’d call a small-government conservative; and if you voted against Bush, we can probably get along just fine.

On the other hand, you might want to stick around to see what your more fundamentalist colleagues are saying.

Libertarianism strikes me as if someone (let’s call her “Ayn Rand”) sat down to create the Un-Communism. Thus:

Does this sound exaggerated? Let’s listen to Murray Rothbard:

Or here’s Lew Rockwell on Rothbard (emphasis mine):

Thomas DiLorenzo on worker activism: “[L]abor unions [pursue] policies which impede the very institutions of capitalism that are the cause of their own prosperity.” Or Ludwig von Mises: “What is today euphemistically called the right to strike is in fact the right of striking workers, by recourse to violence, to prevent people who want to work from working.” (Employer violence is apparently acceptable.) The Libertarian Party platform explains that workers have no right to protest drug tests, and supports the return of child labor.

On Nietzsche, as one of my correspondents puts it, some libertarians love Nietzsche; others have read him. (Though I would respond that some people idolize executives; others have worked for them.) Nonetheless, I think the Nietzschean atmosphere of burning rejection of conventional morality, exaltation of the will to power, and scorn for womanish Christian compassion for the masses, is part of the roots of libertarianism. It’s unmistakable in Ayn Rand.

The more important point, however, is that the capitalist is the ber-villain for communists, and a glorious hero for libertarians; that property is “theft” for the communists, and a “natural right” for libertarians. These dovetail a little too closely for coincidence. It’s natural enough, when a basic element of society is attacked as an evil, for its defenders to counter-attack by elevating it into a principle.

As we should have learned from the history of communism and fascism, however, contradiction is no guarantee of truth; it can lead one into an opposite error instead. And many who rejected communism nonetheless remained zealots. People who leave one ideological extreme usually end up at the other, either quickly (David Horowitz) or slowly (Mario Vargas Llosa). If you’re the sort of person who likes absolutes, you want them even if all your other convictions change.

The methodology isn’t much different either: oppose the obvious evils of the world with a fairy tale. The communist of 1910 couldn’t point to a single real-world instance of his utopia; neither can the present-day libertarian. Yet they’re unshakeable in their conviction that it can and must happen.

Academic libertarians love abstract, fact-free arguments– often, justifications for why property is an absolute right. As a random example, from one James Craig Green:

Examples of natural property in land and water resources have already been given, but deserve more detail. An illustration of how this would be accomplished is a farm with irrigation ditches to grow crops in dry western states. To appropriate unowned natural resources, a settler used his labor to clear the land and dug ditches to carry water from a river for irrigation. Crops were planted, buildings were constructed, and the property thus created was protected by the owner from aggression or the later claims of others. This process was a legitimate creation of property.

The first paragraph is pure fantasy, and is simply untrue as a portrait of “primitive tribes”, which are generally extremely collectivist by American standards. The second sounds good precisely because it leaves out all the actual facts of American history: the settlers’ land was not “unowned” but stolen from the Indians by state conquest (and much of it stolen from the Mexicans as well); the lands were granted to the settlers by government; the communities were linked to the national economy by railroads founded by government grant; the crops were adapted to local conditions by land grant colleges.

Thanks to my essay on taxes, I routinely get mail featuring impassioned harangues which never once mention a real-world fact– or which simply make up the statistics they want.

This sort of balls-out aggressivity probably wins points at parties, where no one is going to take down an almanac and check their figures; but to me it’s a cardinal sin. If someone has an answer for everything, advocates changes which have never been tried, and presents dishonest evidence, he’s a crackpot. If a man has no doubts, it’s because his hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

Distaste for facts isn’t merely a habit of a few Internet cranks; it’s actually libertarian doctrine, the foundation of the ‘Austrian school’. Here’s Ludwig von Mises in Epistemological Problems of Economics:

The ‘other sources’ turn out to be armchair ruminations on how things must be. It’s true enough that economics is not physics; but that’s not warrant to turn our backs on the methods of science and return to scholastic speculation. Economics should always move in the direction of science, experiment, and falsifiability. If it were really true that it cannot, then no one, including the libertarians, would be entitled to strong belief in any economic program.

Some people aren’t much bothered by libertarianism’s lack of real-world success. After all, they argue, if no one tried anything new, nothing would ever change.

In fact, I’m all for experimentation; that’s how we learn. Create a libertarian state. But run it as a proper experiment. Start small-scale. Establish exactly how your claims will be tested: per capita income? median income? life expectancy? property value? surveys on happiness? Set up a control: e.g. begin with two communities as close as we can get them in size, initial wealth, resources, and culture, one following liberalism, one following libertarianism. Abide by the results– no changing the goalposts if the liberals happen to “win”.

I’m even willing to look at partial tests. If an ideology is really better than others at producing general prosperity, then following it partially should produce partially better results. Jonathan Kwitny suggested comparing a partly socialist system (e.g. Tanzania) to a partly capitalist one (e.g. Kenya). (Kenya looked a lot better.) If the tests are partial, of course, we’ll want more of them; but human experience is pretty broad.

It’s the libertarians, not me, who stand in the way of such accountability. If I point out examples of nations partially following libertarian views– we’ll get to this below– I’m told that they don’t count: only Pure Real Libertarianism Of My Own Camp can be tested.

Again, all-or-nothing thinking generally goes with intellectual fraud. If a system is untestable, it’s because its proponents fear testing. By contrast, I’m confident enough in liberal and scientific values that I’m happy to see even partial adoption. Even a little freedom is better than dictatorship. Even a little science is better than ideology.

An untested political system unfortunately has great rhetorical appeal. Since we can’t see it in action, we can’t point out its obvious faults, while the ideologue can be caustic about everything that has actually been tried, and which has inevitably fallen short of perfection. Perhaps that’s why Dave Barry and Trey Parker are libertarians. But I’d rather vote for a politician who’s shown that his programs work in the real world than for a humorist, however amusing.

At this point some libertarian readers are pumping their hands in the air like a piston, anxious to explain that their ideal isn’t Rothbard or von Mises or Hayek, but the Founding Fathers.

Nice try. Everybody wants the Founders on their side; but it was a different country back then– 95% agricultural, low density, highly homogenous, primitive in technology– and modern libertarianism simply doesn’t apply. (The OED’s citations of the word for the time are all theological.)

All American political movements have their roots in the 1700s– indeed, in the winning side, since Loyalist opinion essentially disappeared. We are all– liberals, conservatives, libertarians– against the Georgian monarchy and for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You can certainly find places where one Founder or another rants against government; you can find other places where one Founder or another rants against rebellion, anarchy, and the opponents of federalism. Sometimes the same Founder can be quoted on both sides. They were a mixed bunch, and lived long enough lives to encounter different situations.

The Constitution is above all a definition of a strengthened government, and the Federalist Papers are an extended argument for it. The Founders negotiated a balance between a government that was arbitrary and coercive (their experience as British colonial subjects) and one that was powerless and divided (the failed Articles of Confederation).

The Founders didn’t anticipate the New Deal– there was no need for them to– but they were as quick to resort to the resources of the state as any modern liberal. Ben Franklin, for instance, played the Pennsylvania legislature like a violin– using it to fund a hospital he wanted to establish, for instance. Obviously he had no qualms about using state power to do good social works.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Founders’ words were nobler than their deeds. Most were quite comfortable with slave-owning, for instance. No one worried about women’s consent to be governed. Washington’s own administration made it a crime to criticize the government. And as Robert Allen Rutland reminds us,

The process of giving life to our constitutional rights has largely been the work of liberals. On the greatest fight of all, to treat blacks as human beings, libertarians supported the other side.

Crackpots are usually harmless; how about the Libertarian Party?

In itself, I’m afraid, it’s nothing but a footnote. It gets no more than 1% of the vote– a showing that’s been surpassed historically by the Anti-Masonic Party, the Greenbacks, the Prohibition Party, the Socialists, the Greens, and whatever John Anderson was. If that was all it was, I wouldn’t bother to devote pages and rants to it. I’m all for the expression of pure eccentricity in politics; I like the Brits’ Monster Raving Looney Party even better.

Why are libertarian ideas important? Because of their influence on the Republican Party. They form the ideological basis for the Reagan/Gingrich/Bush revolution. The Republicans have taken the libertarian “Government is Bad” horse and ridden far with it:

Maybe this use of their ideas is appalling to ‘Real Libertarians’… well, it’s an appalling world sometimes. Is it fair to communism that everyone thinks its Leninist manifestation is the only possible one? Do you think I’m happy to have national representatives like Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry?

At least some libertarians have understood the connection. Rothbard again, writing in 1994:

Can you smell the compromise here? Hold your nose and vote for the Repubs, boys. But then don’t pretend to be uninvolved when the Republicans start making a mockery of limited government.

There’s a deeper lesson here, and it’s part of why I don’t buy libertarian portraits of the future utopia. Movements out of power are always anti-authoritarian; it’s no guarantee that they’ll stay that way. Communists before 1917 promised the withering away of the state. Fascists out of power sounded something like socialists. The Republicans were big on term limits when they could be used to unseat Democrats; they say nothing about them today. If you don’t think it can happen to you, you’re not being honest about human nature and human history.

The Libertarian Party has a cute little test that purports to divide American politics into four quadrants. There’s the economic dimension (where libertarians ally with conservatives) and the social dimension (where libertarians ally with liberals).

I think the diagram is seriously misleading, because visually it gives equal importance to both dimensions. And when the rubber hits the road, libertarians almost always go with the economic dimension.

The libertarian philosopher always starts with property rights. Libertarianism arose in opposition to the New Deal, not to Prohibition. The libertarian voter is chiefly exercised over taxes, regulation, and social programs; the libertarian wing of the Republican party has, for forty years, gone along with the war on drugs, corporate welfare, establishment of dictatorships abroad, and an alliance with theocrats. Christian libertarians like Ron Paul want God in the public schools and are happy to have the government forbid abortion and gay marriage. I never saw the libertarians objecting to Bush Sr. mocking the protection of civil rights, or to Ken Starr’s government inquiry into politicians’ sex lives. On the Cato Institute’s list of recent books, I count 1 of 19 dealing with an issue on which libertarians and liberals tend to agree, and that was on foreign policy (specifically, the Iraq war).

If this is changing, as Bush’s never-ending “War on Terror” expands the powers of government, demonizes dissent, and enmeshes the country in military crusades and nation-building, as the Republicans push to remove the checks and balances that remain in our government system– if libertarians come to realize that Republicans and not Democrats are the greater threat to liberty– I’d be delighted.

But for that, you know, you have to vote against Bush. A belief in social liberties means little if you vote for a party that clearly intends to restrict them.

For the purposes of my critique, however, the social side of libertarianism is irrelevant. A libertarian and I might actually agree to legalize drugs, let people marry whoever they like, and repeal the Patriot Act. But this has nothing to do with whether robber baron capitalism is a good thing.

The libertarianism that has any effect in the world, then, has nothing to do with social liberty, and everything to do with removing all restrictions on business. So what’s wrong with that?

Let’s look at some cases that came within spitting distance of the libertarian ideal. Some libertarians won’t like these, because they are not Spotless Instances of the Free Utopia; but as I’ve said, nothing is proved by science fiction. If complete economic freedom and absence of government is a cure-all, partial economic freedom and limited government should be a cure-some.

At the turn of the 20th century, business could do what it wanted– and it did. The result was robber barons, monopolistic gouging, management thugs attacking union organizers, filth in our food, a punishing business cycle, slavery and racial oppression, starvation among the elderly, gunboat diplomacy in support of business interests.

The New Deal itself was a response to crisis (though by no means an unprecedented one; it wasn’t much worse than the Gilded Age depressions). A quarter of the population was out of work. Five thousand banks failed, destroying the savings of 9 million families. Steel plants were operating at 12% capacity. Banks foreclosed on a quarter of Mississippi’s land. Wall Street was discredited by insider trading and collusion with banks at the expense of investors. Farmers were breaking out into open revolt; miners and jobless city workers were rioting.

Don’t think, by the way, that if governments don’t provide gunboats, no one else will. Corporations will build their own military if necessary: the East Indies Company did; Leopold did in the Congo; management did when fighting with labor.

Or take Russia in the decade after the fall of Communism, as advised by free-market absolutists like Jeffrey Sachs. Russian GDP declined 50% in five years. The elite grabbed the assets they could and shuffled them out of Russia so fast that IMF loans couldn’t compensate. In 1994 alone, 600 businessmen, journalists, and politicians were murdered by gangsters. Russia lacked a working road system, a banking system, anti-monopoly regulation, effective law enforcement, or any sort of safety net for the elderly and the jobless. Inflation reached 2250% in 1992. Central government authority effectively disappeared in many regions.

By the way, Russia is the answer to those testosterone-poisoned folks who think that guns will prevent oppression. The mafia will always outgun you.

Today’s Russia is moving back toward authoritarianism under Putin. Again, this should dismay libertarians: apparently, given a little freedom, many people will demand less. You’d better be careful about setting up that utopia; ten years further on it may be taken over by authoritarians.

Or consider the darling of many an ’80s conservative: Pinochet’s Chile, installed by Nixon, praised by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, George Bush, and Paul Johnson. In twenty years, foreign debt quadrupled, natural resources were wasted, universal health care was abandoned (leading to epidemics of typhoid fever and hepatitis), unions were outlawed, military spending rose (for what? who the hell is going to attack Chile?), social security was “privatized” (with predictable results: ever-increasing government bailouts) and the poverty rate doubled, from 20% to 41%. Chile’s growth rate from 1974 to 1982 was 1.5%; the Latin American average was 4.3%.

Pinochet was a dicator, of course, which makes some libertarians feel that they have nothing to learn here. Somehow Chile’s experience (say) privatizing social security can tell us nothing about privatizing social security here, because Pinochet was a dictator. Presumably if you set up a business in Chile, the laws of supply and demand and perhaps those of gravity wouldn’t apply, because Pinochet was a dictator.

When it’s convenient, libertarians even trumpet their association with Chile’s “free market” policies; self-gov.org (originators of that cute quiz) includes a page celebrating Milton Friedman, self-proclaimed libertarian, who helped form and advise the group of University of Chicago professors and graduates who implemented Pinochet’s policies. The Cato Institute even named a prize for “Advancing Liberty” after this benefactor of the Chilean dictatorship.

The newest testing ground for laissez-faire is present-day America, from Ronald Reagan on.

Remove the New Deal, and the pre-New Deal evils clamor to return. Reagan removed the right to strike; companies now fire strikers, outsource high-wage jobs and replace them with dead-end near-minimum-wage service jobs. Middle-class wages are stagnating– or plummeting, if you consider that working hours are rising. Companies are rushing to reestablish child labor in the Third World.

Under liberalism, productivity increases benefited all classes– poverty rates declined from over 30% to under 10% in the thirty years after World War II, while the economy more than quadrupled in size.

In the current libertarian climate, productivity gains only go to the already well-off. Here’s the percentage of US national income received by certain percentiles of the population, as reported by the IRS:

This should put some perspective on libertarian whining about high taxes and how we’re destroying incentives for the oppressed businessman. The wealthiest 1% of the population doubled their share of the pie in just 15 years. In 1973, CEOs earned 45 times the pay of an average employee (about twice the multipler in Japan); today it’s 500 times.

Thirty years ago, managers accepted that they operated as much for their workers, consumers, and neighbors as for themselves. Some economists (notably Michael Jensen and William Meckling) decided that the only stakeholders that mattered were the stock owners– and that management would be more accountable if they were given massive amounts of stock. Not surprisingly, CEOs managed to get the stock without the accountability– they’re obscenely well paid whether the company does well or it tanks– and the obsession with stock price led to mass layoffs, short-term thinking, and the financial dishonesty at WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia, HealthSouth, and elsewhere.

The nature of our economic system has changed in the last quarter-century, and people haven’t understood it yet. People over 30 or so grew up in an environment where the rich got more, but everyone prospered. When productivity went up, the rich got richer– we’re not goddamn communists, after all– but everybody’s income increased.

If you were part of the World War II generation, the reality was that you had access to subsidized education and housing, you lived better every year, and you were almost unimaginably better off than your parents.

We were a middle-class nation, perhaps the first nation in history where the majority of the people were comfortable. This infuriated the communists (this wasn’t supposed to happen). The primeval libertarians who cranky about it as well, but the rich had little reason to complain– they were better off than ever before, too.

Conservatives– nurtured by libertarian ideas– have managed to change all that. When productivity rises, the rich now keep the gains; the middle class barely stays where it is; the poor get poorer. We have a ways to go before we become a Third World country, but the model is clear. The goal is an impoverished majority, and a super-rich minority with no effective limitations on its power or earnings. We’ll exchange the prosperity of 1950s America for that of 1980s Brazil.

Despite the intelligence of many of its supporters, libertarianism is an instance of the simplest (and therefore silliest) type of politics: the single-villain ideology. Everything is blamed on the government. (One libertarian, for instance, reading my list of the evils of laissez-faire above, ignored everything but “gunboats”. It’s like Gary Larson’s cartoon of “What dogs understand”, with the dog’s name replaced with “government”.)

The advantage of single-villain ideologies is obvious: in any given situation you never have to think hard to find out the culprit. The disadvantages, however, are worse: you can’t see your primary target clearly– hatred is a pair of dark glasses– and you can’t see the problems with anything else.

It’s a habit of mind that renders libertarianism unfalsifiable, and thus irrelevant to the world. Everything gets blamed on one institution; and because we have no real-world example where that agency is absent, the claims can’t be tested.

Not being a libertarian doesn’t mean loving the state; it means accepting complexity. The real world is a monstrously complicated place; there’s not just one thing wrong with it, nor just one thing that can be changed to fix it. Things like prosperity and freedom don’t have one cause; they’re a balancing act.

Here’s an alternative theory for you: original sin. People will mess things up, whether by stupidity or by active malice. There is no magical class of people (e.g. “government”) who can be removed to produce utopia. Any institution is liable to failure, or active criminality. Put anyone in power– whether it’s communists or engineers or businessmen– and they will abuse it.

Does this mean things are hopeless? Of course not; it just means that we have to let all institutions balance each other. Government, opposition parties, business, the media, unions, churches, universities, non-government organizations, all watch over each other. Power is distributed as widely as possible to prevent any one institution from monopolizing and abusing it. It’s not always a pretty solution, and it can be frustratingly slow and inefficient, but it works better than any alternative I know of.

Markets are very good at some things, like deciding what to produce and distributing it. But unrestricted markets don’t produce general prosperity, and lawless business can and will abuse its power. Examples can be multiplied ad nauseam: read some history– or the newspaper.

Libertarian responses to such lists are beyond amazing.

Slavery is another example: though some hoped that the market would eventually make it unprofitable, it sure was taking its time, and neither the slave nor the abolitionist had any non-governmental leverage over the slaveowners.

(Libertarians usually claim to oppose slavery… but that’s awfully easy to say on this side of Civil War and the civil rights movement. The slaveowners thought they were defending their sacred rights to property and self-government.)

And those are the better responses. Often enough the only response is explain how nothing bad can happen in the libertarian utopia. But libertarian dogma can’t be buttressed by libertarian doctrine– that’s begging the question.

Or it’s simply denied that these things are problems. One correspondent suggested that the poor shouldn’t “complain” about not getting loans– “I wouldn’t make a loan if I didn’t think I’d get paid back.” This is not only hard-hearted but ignorant. Who says the poor are bad credit risks? It often takes prodding from community organizations, but banks can serve low-income areas well– both making money and fostering home ownership. Institutions like the Grameen Bank have found that micro-loans work very well, and are profitable, in the poorest countries on Earth, such as Bangladesh.

A proven solution to most of these ills is liberalism. For fifty years liberals governed this country, generating unprecedented prosperity, and making this the first solidly middle-class nation.

If you want prosperity for the many– and why should the many support any other goal?– you need a balance between government and business. For this you need several things:

Perhaps the most communicable libertarian meme– and one of the most mischievous– is the attempt to paint taxation as theft.

First, it’s dishonest. Most libertarians theoretically accept government for defense and law enforcement. (There are some absolutists who don’t even believe in national defense; I guess they want to have a libertarian utopia for awhile, then hand it over to foreign invaders.)

Now, national defense and law enforcement cost money: about 22% of the 2002 budget– 33% of the non-social-security budget. You can’t swallow that and maintain that all taxes are bad. At least the cost of those functions is not “your money”; it’s a legitimate charge for necessary services.

Americans enjoy the fruits of public scientific research, a well-educated job force, highways and airports, clean food, honest labelling, Social Security, unemployment insurance, trustworthy banks, national parks. Libertarianism has encouraged the peculiarly American delusion that these things come for free. It makes a philosophy out of biting the hand that feeds you.

Second, it leads directly to George Bush’s financial irresponsibility. Would a libertarian urge his family or his software company or his gun club to spend twice what it takes in? When libertarians maintain that irresponsibility among the poor is such a bad thing, why is it OK in the government?

It’s no excuse to claim that libertarians didn’t want the government to increase spending, as Bush has done. As you judge others, so shall you be judged. Libertarians want to judge liberalism not by its goals (e.g. helping poor children) but by its alleged effects (e.g. teen pregnancy). The easiest things in the world for a politician to do are to lower taxes and raise spending. By attacking the very concept of taxation, libertarians help politicians– and the public– to indulge their worst impulses.

Finally, it hides dependence on the government. The economic powerhouse of the US is still the Midwest, the Northeast, and California– largely liberal Democratic areas. As Dean Lacy has pointed out, over the last decade, the blue states of 2004 paid $1.4 trillion more in federal taxes than they received, while red states received $800 billion more than they paid.

Red state morality isn’t just to be irresponsible with the money they pay as taxes; it’s to be irresponsible with other people’s money. It’s protesting the concept of getting an allowance by stealing the other kids’ money.

Ultimately, my objection to libertarianism is moral. Arguing across moral gulfs is usually ineffective; but we should at least be clear about what our moral differences are.

First, the worship of the already successful and the disdain for the powerless is essentially the morality of a thug. Money and property should not be privileged above everything else– love, humanity, justice.

(And let’s not forget that lurid fascination with firepower– seen in ESR, Ron Paul, Heinlein and Van Vogt, Advocates for Self-Government’s president Sharon Harris, the Cato Institute, Lew Rockwell’s site, and the Mises Institute.)

I wish I could convince libertarians that the extremely wealthy don’t need them as their unpaid advocates. Power and wealth don’t need a cheering section; they are– by definition– not an oppressed class which needs our help. Power and wealth can take care of themselves. It’s the poor and the defenseless who need aid and advocates.

The libertarians reminds me of G.K. Chesterton’s description of people who are so eager to attack a hated ideology that they will destroy their own furniture to make sticks to beat it with. James Craig Green again:

Here’s a very different moral point of view: Jimmy Carter describing why he builds houses with Habitat for Humanity:

Is this “confused hysteria”? No, it’s common human decency. It’s sad when people have to twist themselves into knots to malign the human desire (and the Biblical command) to help one’s neighbor.

Second, it’s the philosophy of a snotty teen, someone who’s read too much Heinlein, absorbed the sordid notion that an intellectual elite should rule the subhuman masses, and convinced himself that reading a few bad novels qualifies him as a member of the elite.

Third, and perhaps most common, it’s the worldview of a provincial narcissist. As I’ve observed in my overview of the 20th century, liberalism won its battles so thoroughly that people have forgotten why those battles were fought.

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What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com

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SCOTUS has two weeks of arguments starting Monday, one a …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on SCOTUS has two weeks of arguments starting Monday, one a …
Feb 192016
 

ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (2015)

by John Wesley Hall Criminal Defense Lawyer and Search and seizure law consultant Little Rock, Arkansas Contact / The Book http://www.johnwesleyhall.com

2003-16, online since Feb. 24, 2003 real non-robot URL hits since 2010; approx. 18k posts since 2003

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fourth Amendment cases, citations, and links

Latest Slip Opinions: U.S. Supreme Court (Home) Federal Appellate Courts Opinions First Circuit Second Circuit Third Circuit Fourth Circuit Fifth Circuit Sixth Circuit Seventh Circuit Eighth Circuit Ninth Circuit Tenth Circuit Eleventh Circuit D.C. Circuit Federal Circuit Foreign Intell.Surv.Ct. FDsys, many district courts, other federal courts, other Military Courts: C.A.A.F., Army, AF, N-M, CG State courts (and some USDC opinions)

Google Scholar Advanced Google Scholar Google search tips LexisWeb LII State Appellate Courts LexisONE free caselaw Findlaw Free Opinions To search Search and Seizure on Lexis.com $

Research Links: Supreme Court: SCOTUSBlog S. Ct. Docket Solicitor General’s site SCOTUSreport Briefs online (but no amicus briefs) Curiae (Yale Law) Oyez Project (NWU) “On the Docket”Medill S.Ct. Monitor: Law.com S.Ct. Com’t’ry: Law.com

General (many free): LexisWeb Google Scholar | Google LexisOne Legal Website Directory Crimelynx Lexis.com $ Lexis.com (criminal law/ 4th Amd) $ Findlaw.com Findlaw.com (4th Amd) Westlaw.com $ F.R.Crim.P. 41 http://www.fd.org FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf) DEA Agents Manual (2002) (download) DOJ Computer Search Manual (2009) (pdf) Stringrays (ACLU No. Cal.) (pdf)

Congressional Research Service: –Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions (2012) ACLU on privacy Privacy Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation NACDLs Domestic Drone Information Center Electronic Privacy Information Center Criminal Appeal (post-conviction) (9th Cir.) Section 1983 Blog

“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn’t, and they don’t.” Me

I still learn something new every day. Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, “The Who Live at Hyde Park” (Showtime 2015)

“I can’t talk about my singing. I’m inside it. How can you describe something you’re inside of?” Janis Joplin

“Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government.” Shemaya, in the Thalmud

“A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one’s attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced.” Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev’d Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

“The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment. Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

“There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property.” Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

“The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has notto put it mildlyrun smooth.” Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

“A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable.” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

“For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. … But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Libertythe freedom from unwarranted intrusion by governmentis as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark. United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need.” Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for meand by that time there was nobody left to speak up.” Martin Niemller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men! —Pep Le Pew

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SCOTUS has two weeks of arguments starting Monday, one a …

Liberty (village), New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Liberty  Comments Off on Liberty (village), New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 182016
 

Liberty is a village in Sullivan County, New York, United States. The population was 4,392 at the 2010 census.

The Village of Liberty is centrally located in the Town of Liberty and is adjacent to New York Route 17.

While the Town of Liberty was incorporated in 1807, the Village of Liberty was not incorporated as a separate entity until 1870.[1]

The Munson Diner, Liberty Downtown Historic District, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Town and Country Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

Liberty is located at 414752N 744434W / 41.79778N 74.74278W / 41.79778; -74.74278 (41.797792, -74.742829).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.4square miles (6.2km).None of the area is covered with water.

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 3,975 people, 1,646 households, and 893 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,660.3 people per square mile (642.2/km). There were 2,071 housing units at an average density of 865.0 per square mile (334.6/km). The racial makeup of the village was 76.58% White, 13.89% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 1.94% Asian, 5.38% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.21% of the population.

There were 1,646 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.8% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the village the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 84.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $27,903, and the median income for a family was $35,265. Males had a median income of $26,823 versus $27,813 for females. The per capita income for the village was $19,180. About 12.7% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

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Liberty (village), New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent

 Nihilism  Comments Off on CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent
Feb 122016
 

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The term was first used by Turgeniev in his novel, “Fathers and Sons” (in “Russkij Vestnik”, Feb., 1862): a Nihilist is one who bows to no authority and accepts no doctrine, however widespread, that is not supported by proof.

The nihilist theory was formulated by Cernysevskij in his novel “Cto delat” (What shall be done, 1862-64), which forecasts a new social order constructed on the ruins of the old. But essentially, Nihilism was a reaction against the abuses of Russian absolutism; it originated with the first secret political society in Russia founded by Pestel (1817), and its first effort was the military revolt of the Decembrists (14 Dec., 1825). Nicholas I crushed the uprising, sent its leaders to the scaffold and one hundred and sixteen participants to Siberia. The spread (1830) of certain philosophical doctrines (Hegel, Saint Simon , Fourier ) brought numerous recruits to Nihilism, especially in the universities; and, in many of the cities, societies were organized to combat absolutism and introduce constitutional government.

Its apostles were Alexander Herzen (1812-70) and Michael Bakunin (1814-76), both of noble birth. The former, arrested (1832) as a partisan of liberal ideas, was imprisoned for eight months, deported, pardoned (1840), resided in Moscow till 1847 when he migrated to London and there founded (1857) the weekly periodical , “Kolokol” (Bell), and later “The Polar Star”. The “Kolokol” published Russian political secrets and denunciations of the Government; and, in spite of the police, made its way into Russia to spread revolutionary ideas. Herzen, inspired by Hegel and Feurbach, proclaimed the destruction of the existing order; but he did not advocate violent measures. Hence his younger followers wearied of him; and on the other hand his defense of the Poles during the insurrection of 1863 alienated many of his Russian sympathizers. The “Kolokol” went out of existence in 1868 and Herzen died two years later. Bakunin was extreme in his revolutionary theories. In the first number of “L’Alliance Internationale de la Dmocratie Socialiste” founded by him in 1869, he openly professed Atheism and called for the abolition of marriage, property, and of all social and religious institutions. His advice, given in his “Revolutionary Catechism”, was: “Be severe to yourself and severe to others. Suppress the sentiments of relationship , friendship, love, and gratitude. Have only one pleasure, one joy, one reward the triumph of the revolution. Night and day, have only one thought, the destruction of everything without pity. Be ready to die and ready to kill any one who opposes the triumph of your revolt.” Bakunin thus opened the way to nihilistic terrorism.

It began with the formation (1861-62) of secret societies, the members of which devoted their lives and fortunes to the dissemination of revolutionary ideas. Many of these agitators, educated at Zurich, Switzerland, returned to Russia and gave Nihilism the support of trained intelligence . Prominent among them were Sergius Necaev, master of a parochial school in St. Petersburg, who was in constant communication with nihilist centers in various cities, and Sergius Kovalin who established thirteen associations in Cernigor. These societies took their names from their founders the Malikovcy, Lavrists, Bakunists, etc. They enrolled seminarists , university students, and young women. Among the working men the propaganda was conducted in part through free schools. The promoters engaged in humble trades as weavers, blacksmiths, and carpenters, and in their shops inculcated nihilist doctrine. The peasantry was reached by writings, speeches, schools, and personal intercourse. Even the nobles shared in this work, e.g., Prince Peter Krapotkin , who, under the pseudonym of Borodin, held conferences with workingmen. As secondary centres, taverns and shops served as meeting places, depositories of prohibited books, and, in case of need, as places of refuge. Though without a central organization the movement spread throughout Russia, notably in the region of the Volga and in that of the Dnieper where it gained adherents among the Cossacks. The women in particular displayed energy and self sacrifice in their zeal for the cause. Many were highly cultured and some belonged to the nobility or higher classes, e.g., Natalia Armfeld, Barbara Batiukova, Sofia von Herzfeld, Sofia Perovakaja. They co-operated more especially through the schools.

The propaganda of the press was at first conducted from foreign parts: London, Geneva, Zurich. In this latter city there were two printing offices, established in 1873, where the students published the works of Lavrov and of Bakunin. The first secret printing office in Russia, founded at St. Petersburg in 1861, published four numbers of the Velikoruss. At the same time there came to Russia, from London, copies of the “Proclamation to the New Generation ” (Kmolodomu pokolkniju) and “Young Russia” (Molodaja Rosija), which was published in the following year. In 1862, another secret printing office, established at Moscow, published the recital of the revolt of 14 December, 1825, written by Ogarev. In 1862, another secret press at St. Petersburg published revolutionary proclamations for officers of the army; and in 1863, there were published in the same city a few copies of the daily Papers, “Svoboda” (Liberty) and “Zemlja i Volja” (The Earth and Liberty); the latter continued to be published in 1878 and 1879, under the editorship, at first, of Marco Natanson, and later of the student, Alexander Mihailov, one of the ablest organizers of Nihilism. In 1866, a student of Kazan, Elpidin, published two numbers of the “Podpolnoe Slovo”, which was succeeded by the daily paper, the “Sovremennost” (The Contemporary), and later, by the “Narodnoe Delo” (The National Interest), which was published (1868-70), to disseminate the ideas of Bakunin. Two numbers of the “Narodnaja Rasprava” (The Tribunal of Reason) were published in 1870, at St. Petersburg and at Moscow. In 1873, appeared the “Vpred” (Forward!), one of the most esteemed periodicals of Nihilism, having salient socialistic tendencies. A volume of it appeared each year. In 1875-76, there was connected with the “Vpred”, a small bi-monthly supplement, which was under the direction of Lavrov until 1876, when it passed under the editorship of Smironv, and went out of existence in the same year. It attacked theological and religious ideas, proclaiming the equality of rights, freedom of association, and justice for the proletariat. At Geneva , in 1875 and 1876, the “Rabotnik” (The Workman ) was published, which was edited in the style of the people; the “Nabat” (The Tocsin) appeared in 1875, directed by Thacev; the “Narodnaja Volja” (The Will of the People), in 1879, and the “Cernyi Peredel”, in 1880, were published in St. Petersburg. There was no fixed date for any of these papers, and their contents consisted, more especially, of proclamations, of letters from revolutionists, and at times, of sentences of the Executive Committees . These printing offices also produced books and pamphlets and Russian translations of the works of Lassalle, Marx, Proudhon, and Bchner. A government stenographer, Myskin , in 1870, established a printing office, through which several of Lassalle’s works were published; while many pamphlets were published by the Zemlja i Volja Committee and by the Free Russian Printing Office. Some of the pamphlets were published under titles like those of the books for children, for example, “Deduska Egor” (Grandfather Egor), Mitiuska”, Stories for the Workingmen , and others, in which the exploitation of the people was deplored, and the immunity of capitalists assailed. Again, some publications were printed in popular, as well as in cultured, language; and, in order to allure the peasants these pamphlets appeared at times, under such titles as “The Satiate and the Hungry”; “How Our Country Is No Longer Ours”. But all this propaganda, which required considerable energy and sacrifice, did not produce satisfactory results. Nihilism did not penetrate the masses; its enthusiastic apostles committed acts of imprudence that drew upon them the ferocious reprisals of the Government; the peasants had not faith in the preachings of those teachers, whom, at times, they regarded as government spies, and whom, at times, they denounced . The books and pamphlets that were distributed among the country people often fell into the hands of the cinovniki (government employees), or of the popes. Very few of the peasants knew how to read. Accordingly, Nihilism had true adherents only among students of the universities and higher schools, and among the middle classes. The peasants and workmen did not understand its ideals of destruction and of social revolution.

Propagation of ideas was soon followed by violence: 4 April, 1866, Tsar Alexander II narrowly escaped the shot fired by Demetrius Karakozov, and in consequence took severe measures (rescript of 23 May, 1866) against the revolution, making the universities and the press objects of special vigilance. To avoid detection and spying, the Nihilists formed a Central Executive Committee whose sentences of death were executed by “punishers”. Sub-committees of from five to ten members were also organized and statutes (12 articles) drawn up. The applicant for admission was required to consecrate his life to the cause, sever ties of family and friendship, and observe absolute secrecy. Disobedience to the head of the association was punishable with death. The Government, in turn, enacted stringent laws against secret societies and brought hundreds before the tribunals. A notable instance was the trial, at St. Petersburg in October, 1877, of 193 persons: 94 went free, 36 were sent to Siberia ; the others received light sentences . One of the accused, Myskin by name, who in addressing the judges had characterized the procedure as “an abominable comedy”, was condemned to ten years of penal servitude. Another sensational trial (April, 1878) was that of Vera Sassulio, who had attempted to murder General Frepov, chief of police of St. Petersburg . Her acquittal was frantically applauded and she found a refuge in Switzerland. Among the deeds of violence committed by Nihilists may be mentioned the assassination of General Mezencev (4 Aug., 1878) and Prince Krapotkin (1879). These events were followed by new repressive measures on the part of the Government and by numerous executions. The Nihilists, however, continued their work, held a congress at Lipeck in 1879, and (26 Aug.) condemned Alexander II to death. An attempt to wreck the train on which the Tsar was returning to St. Petersburg proved abortive. Another attack on his life was made by Halturin, 5 Feb., 1880. He was slain on 1 March 1881, by a bomb, thrown by Grineveckij. Six conspirators, among them Sofia Perovskaja, were tried and executed. On 14 March, the Zemlja i Volja society issued a proclamation inciting the peasants to rise , while the Executive Committee wrote to Alexander III denouncing the abuses of the bureaucracy and demanding political amnesty, national representation, and civil liberty.

The reign of Alexander III was guided by the dictates of a reaction, due in great measure to the counsels of Constantine Pobedonoscev, procurator general of the Holy Synod. And Nihilism, which seemed to reach its apogee in the death of Alexander II, saw its eclipse. Its theories were too radical to gain proselytes among the people. Its assaults were repeated; on 20 March, 1882, General Strelnikov was assassinated at Odessa; and Colonel Sudezkin on the 28th of December, 1883; in 1887, an attempt against the life of the tsar was unsuccessful; in 1890, a conspiracy against the tsar was discovered at Paris; but these crimes were the work of the revolution in Russia, rather than of the Nihilists. The crimes that reddened the soil of Russia with blood in constitutional times are due to the revolution of 1905-07. But the Nihilism, that, as a doctrinal system, proclaimed the destruction of the old Russia, to establish the foundations of a new Russia, may be said to have disappeared; it became fused with Anarchism and Socialism , and therefore, the history of the crimes that were multiplied from 1905 on are a chapter in the history of political upheavals in Russia, and not in the history of Nihilism.

APA citation. Palmieri, A. (1911). Nihilism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11074a.htm

MLA citation. Palmieri, Aurelio. “Nihilism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. .

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Bob Mathewson.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can’t reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

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CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent

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Hedonism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 Hedonism  Comments Off on Hedonism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Feb 072016
 

The term “hedonism,” from the Greek word (hdon) for pleasure, refers to several related theories about what is good for us, how we should behave, and what motivates us to behave in the way that we do. All hedonistic theories identify pleasure and pain as the only important elements of whatever phenomena they are designed to describe. If hedonistic theories identified pleasure and pain as merely two important elements, instead of the only important elements of what they are describing, then they would not be nearly as unpopular as they all are. However, the claim that pleasure and pain are the only things of ultimate importance is what makes hedonism distinctive and philosophically interesting.

Philosophical hedonists tend to focus on hedonistic theories of value, and especially of well-being (the good life for the one living it). As a theory of value, hedonism states that all and only pleasure is intrinsically valuable and all and only pain is intrinsically not valuable. Hedonists usually define pleasure and pain broadly, such that both physical and mental phenomena are included. Thus, a gentle massage and recalling a fond memory are both considered to cause pleasure and stubbing a toe and hearing about the death of a loved one are both considered to cause pain. With pleasure and pain so defined, hedonism as a theory about what is valuable for us is intuitively appealing. Indeed, its appeal is evidenced by the fact that nearly all historical and contemporary treatments of well-being allocate at least some space for discussion of hedonism. Unfortunately for hedonism, the discussions rarely endorse it and some even deplore its focus on pleasure.

This article begins by clarifying the different types of hedonistic theories and the labels they are often given. Then, hedonisms ancient origins and its subsequent development are reviewed. The majority of this article is concerned with describing the important theoretical divisions within Prudential Hedonism and discussing the major criticisms of these approaches.

When the term “hedonism” is used in modern literature, or by non-philosophers in their everyday talk, its meaning is quite different from the meaning it takes when used in the discussions of philosophers. Non-philosophers tend to think of a hedonist as a person who seeks out pleasure for themselves without any particular regard for their own future well-being or for the well-being of others. According to non-philosophers, then, a stereotypical hedonist is someone who never misses an opportunity to indulge of the pleasures of sex, drugs, and rock n roll, even if the indulgences are likely to lead to relationship problems, health problems, regrets, or sadness for themselves or others. Philosophers commonly refer to this everyday understanding of hedonism as “Folk Hedonism.” Folk Hedonism is a rough combination of Motivational Hedonism, Hedonistic Egoism, and a reckless lack of foresight.

When philosophers discuss hedonism, they are most likely to be referring to hedonism about value, and especially the slightly more specific theory, hedonism about well-being. Hedonism as a theory about value (best referred to as Value Hedonism) holds that all and only pleasure is intrinsically valuable and all and only pain is intrinsically disvaluable. The term “intrinsically” is an important part of the definition and is best understood in contrast to the term “instrumentally.” Something is intrinsically valuable if it is valuable for its own sake. Pleasure is thought to be intrinsically valuable because, even if it did not lead to any other benefit, it would still be good to experience. Money is an example of an instrumental good; its value for us comes from what we can do with it (what we can buy with it). The fact that a copious amount of money has no value if no one ever sells anything reveals that money lacks intrinsic value. Value Hedonism reduces everything of value to pleasure. For example, a Value Hedonist would explain the instrumental value of money by describing how the things we can buy with money, such as food, shelter, and status-signifying goods, bring us pleasure or help us to avoid pain.

Hedonism as a theory about well-being (best referred to as Prudential Hedonism) is more specific than Value Hedonism because it stipulates what the value is for. Prudential Hedonism holds that all and only pleasure intrinsically makes peoples lives go better for them and all and only pain intrinsically makes their lives go worse for them. Some philosophers replace “people” with “animals” or “sentient creatures,” so as to apply Prudential Hedonism more widely. A good example of this comes from Peter Singers work on animals and ethics. Singer questions why some humans can see the intrinsic disvalue in human pain, but do not also accept that it is bad for sentient non-human animals to experience pain.

When Prudential Hedonists claim that happiness is what they value most, they intend happiness to be understood as a preponderance of pleasure over pain. An important distinction between Prudential Hedonism and Folk Hedonism is that Prudential Hedonists usually understand that pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain in the very short-term is not always the best strategy for achieving the best long-term balance of pleasure over pain.

Prudential Hedonism is an integral part of several derivative types of hedonistic theory, all of which have featured prominently in philosophical debates of the past. Since Prudential Hedonism plays this important role, the majority of this article is dedicated to Prudential Hedonism. First, however, the main derivative types of hedonism are briefly discussed.

Motivational Hedonism (more commonly referred to by the less descriptive label, “Psychological Hedonism”) is the theory that the desires to encounter pleasure and to avoid pain guide all of our behavior. Most accounts of Motivational Hedonism include both conscious and unconscious desires for pleasure, but emphasize the latter. Epicurus, William James, Sigmund Freud, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and (on one interpretation) even Charles Darwin have all argued for varieties of Motivational Hedonism. Bentham used the idea to support his theory of Hedonistic Utilitarianism (discussed below). Weak versions of Motivational Hedonism hold that the desires to seek pleasure and avoid pain often or always have some influence on our behavior. Weak versions are generally considered to be uncontroversially true and not especially useful for philosophy.

Philosophers have been more interested in strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism, which hold that all behavior is governed by the desires to encounter pleasure and to avoid pain (and only those desires). Strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism have been used to support some of the normative types of hedonism and to argue against non-hedonistic normative theories. One of the most notable mentions of Motivational Hedonism is Platos Ring of Gyges example in The Republic. Platos Socrates is discussing with Glaucon how men would react if they were to possess a ring that gives its wearer immense powers, including invisibility. Glaucon believes that a strong version of Motivational Hedonism is true, but Socrates does not. Glaucon asserts that, emboldened with the power provided by the Ring of Gyges, everyone would succumb to the inherent and ubiquitous desire to pursue their own ends at the expense of others. Socrates disagrees, arguing that good people would be able to overcome this desire because of their strong love of justice, fostered through philosophising.

Strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism currently garner very little support for similar reasons. Many examples of seemingly-pain-seeking acts performed out of a sense of duty are well-known from the soldier who jumps on a grenade to save his comrades to that time you rescued a trapped dog only to be (predictably) bitten in the process. Introspective evidence also weighs against strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism; many of the decisions we make seem to be based on motives other than seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Given these reasons, the burden of proof is considered to be squarely on the shoulders of anyone wishing to argue for a strong account of Motivational Hedonism.

Value Hedonism, occasionally with assistance from Motivational Hedonism, has been used to argue for specific theories of right action (theories that explain which actions are morally permissible or impermissible and why). The theory that happiness should be pursued (that pleasure should be pursued and pain should be avoided) is referred to as Normative Hedonism and sometimes Ethical Hedonism. There are two major types of Normative Hedonism, Hedonistic Egoism and Hedonistic Utilitarianism. Both types commonly use happiness (defined as pleasure minus pain) as the sole criterion for determining the moral rightness or wrongness of an action. Important variations within each of these two main types specify either the actual resulting happiness (after the act) or the predicted resulting happiness (before the act) as the moral criterion. Although both major types of Normative Hedonism have been accused of being repugnant, Hedonistic Egoism is considered the most offensive.

Hedonistic Egoism is a hedonistic version of egoism, the theory that we should, morally speaking, do whatever is most in our own interests. Hedonistic Egoism is the theory that we ought, morally speaking, to do whatever makes us happiest that is whatever provides us with the most net pleasure after pain is subtracted. The most repugnant feature of this theory is that one never has to ascribe any value whatsoever to the consequences for anyone other than oneself. For example, a Hedonistic Egoist who did not feel saddened by theft would be morally required to steal, even from needy orphans (if he thought he could get away with it). Would-be defenders of Hedonistic Egoism often point out that performing acts of theft, murder, treachery and the like would not make them happier overall because of the guilt, the fear of being caught, and the chance of being caught and punished. The would-be defenders tend to surrender, however, when it is pointed out that a Hedonistic Egoist is morally obliged by their own theory to pursue an unusual kind of practical education; a brief and possibly painful training period that reduces their moral emotions of sympathy and guilt. Such an education might be achieved by desensitising over-exposure to, and performance of, torture on innocents. If Hedonistic Egoists underwent such an education, their reduced capacity for sympathy and guilt would allow them to take advantage of any opportunities to perform pleasurable, but normally-guilt-inducing, actions, such as stealing from the poor.

Hedonistic Egoism is very unpopular amongst philosophers, not just for this reason, but also because it suffers from all of the objections that apply to Prudential Hedonism.

Hedonistic Utilitarianism is the theory that the right action is the one that produces (or is most likely to produce) the greatest net happiness for all concerned. Hedonistic Utilitarianism is often considered fairer than Hedonistic Egoism because the happiness of everyone involved (everyone who is affected or likely to be affected) is taken into account and given equal weight. Hedonistic Utilitarians, then, tend to advocate not stealing from needy orphans because to do so would usually leave the orphan far less happy and the (probably better-off) thief only slightly happier (assuming he felt no guilt). Despite treating all individuals equally, Hedonistic Utilitarianism is still seen as objectionable by some because it assigns no intrinsic moral value to justice, friendship, truth, or any of the many other goods that are thought by some to be irreducibly valuable. For example, a Hedonistic Utilitarian would be morally obliged to publicly execute an innocent friend of theirs if doing so was the only way to promote the greatest happiness overall. Although unlikely, such a situation might arise if a child was murdered in a small town and the lack of suspects was causing large-scale inter-ethnic violence. Some philosophers argue that executing an innocent friend is immoral precisely because it ignores the intrinsic values of justice, friendship, and possibly truth.

Hedonistic Utilitarianism is rarely endorsed by philosophers, but mainly because of its reliance on Prudential Hedonism as opposed to its utilitarian element. Non-hedonistic versions of utilitarianism are about as popular as the other leading theories of right action, especially when it is the actions of institutions that are being considered.

Perhaps the earliest written record of hedonism comes from the Crvka, an Indian philosophical tradition based on the Barhaspatya sutras. The Crvka persisted for two thousand years (from about 600 B.C.E.). Most notably, the Crvka advocated scepticism and Hedonistic Egoism that the right action is the one that brings the actor the most net pleasure. The Crvka acknowledged that some pain often accompanied, or was later caused by, sensual pleasure, but that pleasure was worth it.

The Cyrenaics, founded by Aristippus (c. 435-356 B.C.E.), were also sceptics and Hedonistic Egoists. Although the paucity of original texts makes it difficult to confidently state all of the justifications for the Cyrenaics positions, their overall stance is clear enough. The Cyrenaics believed pleasure was the ultimate good and everyone should pursue all immediate pleasures for themselves. They considered bodily pleasures better than mental pleasures, presumably because they were more vivid or trustworthy. The Cyrenaics also recommended pursuing immediate pleasures and avoiding immediate pains with scant or no regard for future consequences. Their reasoning for this is even less clear, but is most plausibly linked to their sceptical views perhaps that what we can be most sure of in this uncertain existence is our current bodily pleasures.

Epicurus (c. 341-271 B.C.E.), founder of Epicureanism, developed a Normative Hedonism in stark contrast to that of Aristippus. The Epicureanism of Epicurus is also quite the opposite to the common usage of Epicureanism; while we might like to go on a luxurious “Epicurean” holiday packed with fine dining and moderately excessive wining, Epicurus would warn us that we are only setting ourselves up for future pain. For Epicurus, happiness was the complete absence of bodily and especially mental pains, including fear of the Gods and desires for anything other than the bare necessities of life. Even with only the limited excesses of ancient Greece on offer, Epicurus advised his followers to avoid towns, and especially marketplaces, in order to limit the resulting desires for unnecessary things. Once we experience unnecessary pleasures, such as those from sex and rich food, we will then suffer from painful and hard to satisfy desires for more and better of the same. No matter how wealthy we might be, Epicurus would argue, our desires will eventually outstrip our means and interfere with our ability to live tranquil, happy lives. Epicureanism is generally egoistic, in that it encourages everyone to pursue happiness for themselves. However, Epicureans would be unlikely to commit any of the selfish acts we might expect from other egoists because Epicureans train themselves to desire only the very basics, which gives them very little reason to do anything to interfere with the affairs of others.

With the exception of a brief period discussed below, Hedonism has been generally unpopular ever since its ancient beginnings. Although criticisms of the ancient forms of hedonism were many and varied, one in particular was heavily cited. In Philebus, Platos Socrates and one of his many foils, Protarchus in this instance, are discussing the role of pleasure in the good life. Socrates asks Protarchus to imagine a life without much pleasure but full of the higher cognitive processes, such as knowledge, forethought and consciousness and to compare it with a life that is the opposite. Socrates describes this opposite life as having perfect pleasure but the mental life of an oyster, pointing out that the subject of such a life would not be able to appreciate any of the pleasure within it. The harrowing thought of living the pleasurable but unthinking life of an oyster causes Protarchus to abandon his hedonistic argument. The oyster example is now easily avoided by clarifying that pleasure is best understood as being a conscious experience, so any sensation that we are not consciously aware of cannot be pleasure.

Normative and Motivational Hedonism were both at their most popular during the heyday of Empiricism in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Indeed, this is the only period during which any kind of hedonism could be considered popular at all. During this period, two Hedonistic Utilitarians, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and his protg John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), were particularly influential. Their theories are similar in many ways, but are notably distinct on the nature of pleasure.

Bentham argued for several types of hedonism, including those now referred to as Prudential Hedonism, Hedonistic Utilitarianism, and Motivational Hedonism (although his commitment to strong Motivational Hedonism eventually began to wane). Bentham argued that happiness was the ultimate good and that happiness was pleasure and the absence of pain. He acknowledged the egoistic and hedonistic nature of peoples motivation, but argued that the maximization of collective happiness was the correct criterion for moral behavior. Benthams greatest happiness principle states that actions are immoral if they are not the action that appears to maximise the happiness of all the people likely to be affected; only the action that appears to maximise the happiness of all the people likely to be affected is the morally right action.

Bentham devised the greatest happiness principle to justify the legal reforms he also argued for. He understood that he could not conclusively prove that the principle was the correct criterion for morally right action, but also thought that it should be accepted because it was fair and better than existing criteria for evaluating actions and legislation. Bentham thought that his Hedonic Calculus could be applied to situations to see what should, morally speaking, be done in a situation. The Hedonic Calculus is a method of counting the amount of pleasure and pain that would likely be caused by different actions. The Hedonic Calculus required a methodology for measuring pleasure, which in turn required an understanding of the nature of pleasure and specifically what aspects of pleasure were valuable for us.

Benthams Hedonic Calculus identifies several aspects of pleasure that contribute to its value, including certainty, propinquity, extent, intensity, and duration. The Hedonic Calculus also makes use of two future-pleasure-or-pain-related aspects of actions fecundity and purity. Certainty refers to the likelihood that the pleasure or pain will occur. Propinquity refers to how long away (in terms of time) the pleasure or pain is. Fecundity refers to the likelihood of the pleasure or pain leading to more of the same sensation. Purity refers to the likelihood of the pleasure or pain leading to some of the opposite sensation. Extent refers to the number of people the pleasure or pain is likely to affect. Intensity refers to the felt strength of the pleasure or pain. Duration refers to how long the pleasure or pain are felt for. It should be noted that only intensity and duration have intrinsic value for an individual. Certainty, propinquity, fecundity, and purity are all instrumentally valuable for an individual because they affect the likelihood of an individual feeling future pleasure and pain. Extent is not directly valuable for an individuals well-being because it refers to the likelihood of other people experiencing pleasure or pain.

Benthams inclusion of certainty, propinquity, fecundity, and purity in the Hedonic Calculus helps to differentiate his hedonism from Folk Hedonism. Folk Hedonists rarely consider how likely their actions are to lead to future pleasure or pain, focussing instead on the pursuit of immediate pleasure and the avoidance of immediate pain. So while Folk Hedonists would be unlikely to study for an exam, anyone using Benthams Hedonic Calculus would consider the future happiness benefits to themselves (and possibly others) of passing the exam and then promptly begin studying.

Most importantly for Benthams Hedonic Calculus, the pleasure from different sources is always measured against these criteria in the same way, that is to say that no additional value is afforded to pleasures from particularly moral, clean, or culturally-sophisticated sources. For example, Bentham held that pleasure from the parlor game push-pin was just as valuable for us as pleasure from music and poetry. Since Benthams theory of Prudential Hedonism focuses on the quantity of the pleasure, rather than the source-derived quality of it, it is best described as a type of Quantitative Hedonism.

Benthams indifferent stance on the source of pleasures led to others disparaging his hedonism as the philosophy of swine. Even his student, John Stuart Mill, questioned whether we should believe that a satisfied pig leads a better life than a dissatisfied human or that a satisfied fool leads a better life than a dissatisfied Socrates results that Benthams Quantitative Hedonism seems to endorse.

Like Bentham, Mill endorsed the varieties of hedonism now referred to as Prudential Hedonism, Hedonistic Utilitarianism, and Motivational Hedonism. Mill also thought happiness, defined as pleasure and the avoidance of pain, was the highest good. Where Mills hedonism differs from Benthams is in his understanding of the nature of pleasure. Mill argued that pleasures could vary in quality, being either higher or lower pleasures. Mill employed the distinction between higher and lower pleasures in an attempt to avoid the criticism that his hedonism was just another philosophy of swine. Lower pleasures are those associated with the body, which we share with other animals, such as pleasure from quenching thirst or having sex. Higher pleasures are those associated with the mind, which were thought to be unique to humans, such as pleasure from listening to opera, acting virtuously, and philosophising. Mill justified this distinction by arguing that those who have experienced both types of pleasure realise that higher pleasures are much more valuable. He dismissed challenges to this claim by asserting that those who disagreed lacked either the experience of higher pleasures or the capacity for such experiences. For Mill, higher pleasures were not different from lower pleasures by mere degree; they were different in kind. Since Mills theory of Prudential Hedonism focuses on the quality of the pleasure, rather than the amount of it, it is best described as a type of Qualitative Hedonism.

George Edward Moore (1873-1958) was instrumental in bringing hedonisms brief heyday to an end. Moores criticisms of hedonism in general, and Mills hedonism in particular, were frequently cited as good reasons to reject hedonism even decades after his death. Indeed, since G. E. Moore, hedonism has been viewed by most philosophers as being an initially intuitive and interesting family of theories, but also one that is flawed on closer inspection. Moore was a pluralist about value and argued persuasively against the Value Hedonists central claim that all and only pleasure is the bearer of intrinsic value. Moores most damaging objection against Hedonism was his heap of filth example. Moore himself thought the heap of filth example thoroughly refuted what he saw as the only potentially viable form of Prudential Hedonism that conscious pleasure is the only thing that positively contributes to well-being. Moore used the heap of filth example to argue that Prudential Hedonism is false because pleasure is not the only thing of value.

In the heap of filth example, Moore asks the reader to imagine two worlds, one of which is exceedingly beautiful and the other a disgusting heap of filth. Moore then instructs the reader to imagine that no one would ever experience either world and asks if it is better for the beautiful world to exist than the filthy one. As Moore expected, his contemporaries tended to agree that it would be better if the beautiful world existed. Relying on this agreement, Moore infers that the beautiful world is more valuable than the heap of filth and, therefore, that beauty must be valuable. Moore then concluded that all of the potentially viable theories of Prudential Hedonism (those that value only conscious pleasures) must be false because something, namely beauty, is valuable even when no conscious pleasure can be derived from it.

Moores heap of filth example has rarely been used to object to Prudential Hedonism since the 1970s because it is not directly relevant to Prudential Hedonism (it evaluates worlds and not lives). Moores other objections to Prudential Hedonism also went out of favor around the same time. The demise of these arguments was partly due to mounting objections against them, but mainly because arguments more suited to the task of refuting Prudential Hedonism were developed. These arguments are discussed after the contemporary varieties of hedonism are introduced below.

Several contemporary varieties of hedonism have been defended, although usually by just a handful of philosophers or less at any one time. Other varieties of hedonism are also theoretically available but have received little or no discussion. Contemporary varieties of Prudential Hedonism can be grouped based on how they define pleasure and pain, as is done below. In addition to providing different notions of what pleasure and pain are, contemporary varieties of Prudential Hedonism also disagree about what aspect or aspects of pleasure are valuable for well-being (and the opposite for pain).

The most well-known disagreement about what aspects of pleasure are valuable occurs between Quantitative and Qualitative Hedonists. Quantitative Hedonists argue that how valuable pleasure is for well-being depends on only the amount of pleasure, and so they are only concerned with dimensions of pleasure such as duration and intensity. Quantitative Hedonism is often accused of over-valuing animalistic, simple, and debauched pleasures.

Qualitative Hedonists argue that, in addition to the dimensions related to the amount of pleasure, one or more dimensions of quality can have an impact on how pleasure affects well-being. The quality dimensions might be based on how cognitive or bodily the pleasure is (as it was for Mill), the moral status of the source of the pleasure, or some other non-amount-related dimension. Qualitative Hedonism is criticised by some for smuggling values other than pleasure into well-being by misleadingly labelling them as dimensions of pleasure. How these qualities are chosen for inclusion is also criticised for being arbitrary or ad hoc by some because inclusion of these dimensions of pleasure is often in direct response to objections that Quantitative Hedonism cannot easily deal with. That is to say, the inclusion of these dimensions is often accused of being an exercise in plastering over holes, rather than deducing corollary conclusions from existing theoretical premises. Others have argued that any dimensions of quality can be better explained in terms of dimensions of quantity. For example, they might claim that moral pleasures are no higher in quality than immoral pleasures, but that moral pleasures are instrumentally more valuable because they are likely to lead to more moments of pleasure or less moments of pain in the future.

Hedonists also have differing views about how the value of pleasure compares with the value of pain. This is not a practical disagreement about how best to measure pleasure and pain, but rather a theoretical disagreement about comparative value, such as whether pain is worse for us than an equivalent amount of pleasure is good for us. The default position is that one unit of pleasure (sometimes referred to as a Hedon) is equivalent but opposite in value to one unit of pain (sometimes referred to as a Dolor). Several Hedonistic Utilitarians have argued that reduction of pain should be seen as more important than increasing pleasure, sometimes for the Epicurean reason that pain seems worse for us than an equivalent amount of pleasure is good for us. Imagine that a magical genie offered for you to play a game with him. The game consists of you flipping a fair coin. If the coin lands on heads, then you immediately feel a burst of very intense pleasure and if it lands on tails, then you immediately feel a burst of very intense pain. Is it in your best interests to play the game?

Another area of disagreement between some Hedonists is whether pleasure is entirely internal to a person or if it includes external elements. Internalism about pleasure is the thesis that, whatever pleasure is, it is always and only inside a person. Externalism about pleasure, on the other hand, is the thesis that, pleasure is more than just a state of an individual (that is, that a necessary component of pleasure lies outside of the individual). Externalists about pleasure might, for example, describe pleasure as a function that mediates between our minds and the environment, such that every instance of pleasure has one or more integral environmental components. The vast majority of historic and contemporary versions of Prudential Hedonism consider pleasure to be an internal mental state.

Perhaps the least known disagreement about what aspects of pleasure make it valuable is the debate about whether we have to be conscious of pleasure for it to be valuable. The standard position is that pleasure is a conscious mental state, or at least that any pleasure a person is not conscious of does not intrinsically improve their well-being.

The most common definition of pleasure is that it is a sensation, something that we identify through our senses or that we feel. Psychologists claim that we have at least ten senses, including the familiar, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, but also, movement, balance, and several sub-senses of touch, including heat, cold, pressure, and pain. New senses get added to the list when it is understood that some independent physical process underpins their functioning. The most widely-used examples of pleasurable sensations are the pleasures of eating, drinking, listening to music, and having sex. Use of these examples has done little to help Hedonism avoid its debauched reputation.

It is also commonly recognised that our senses are physical processes that usually involve a mental component, such as the tickling feeling when someone blows gently on the back of your neck. If a sensation is something we identify through our sense organs, however, it is not entirely clear how to account for abstract pleasures. This is because abstract pleasures, such as a feeling of accomplishment for a job well done, do not seem to be experienced through any of the senses in the standard lists. Some Hedonists have attempted to resolve this problem by arguing for the existence of an independent pleasure sense and by defining sensation as something that we feel (regardless of whether it has been mediated by sense organs).

Most Hedonists who describe pleasure as a sensation will be Quantitative Hedonists and will argue that the pleasure from the different senses is the same. Qualitative Hedonists, in comparison, can use the framework of the senses to help differentiate between qualities of pleasure. For example, a Qualitative Hedonist might argue that pleasurable sensations from touch and movement are always lower quality than the others.

Hedonists have also defined pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience, that is to say any experiences that we find intrinsically valuable either are, or include, instances of pleasure. According to this definition, the reason that listening to music and eating a fine meal are both intrinsically pleasurable is because those experiences include an element of pleasure (along with the other elements specific to each activity, such as the experience of the texture of the food and the melody of the music). By itself, this definition enables Hedonists to make an argument that is close to perfectly circular. Defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience and well-being as all and only experiences that are intrinsically valuable allows a Hedonist to all but stipulate that Prudential Hedonism is the correct theory of well-being. Where defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience is not circular is in its stipulation that only experiences matter for well-being. Some well-known objections to this idea are discussed below.

Another problem with defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience is that the definition does not tell us very much about what pleasure is or how it can be identified. For example, knowing that pleasure is intrinsically valuable experience would not help someone to work out if a particular experience was intrinsically or just instrumentally valuable. Hedonists have attempted to respond to this problem by explaining how to find out whether an experience is intrinsically valuable.

One method is to ask yourself if you would like the experience to continue for its own sake (rather than because of what it might lead to). Wanting an experience to continue for its own sake reveals that you find it to be intrinsically valuable. While still making a coherent theory of well-being, defining intrinsically valuable experiences as those you want to perpetuate makes the theory much less hedonistic. The fact that what a person wants is the main criterion for something having intrinsic value, makes this kind of theory more in line with preference satisfaction theories of well-being. The central claim of preference satisfaction theories of well-being is that some variant of getting what one wants, or should want, under certain conditions is the only thing that intrinsically improves ones well-being.

Another method of fleshing out the definition of pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience is to describe how intrinsically valuable experiences feel. This method remains a hedonistic one, but seems to fall back into defining pleasure as a sensation.

It has also been argued that what makes an experience intrinsically valuable is that you like or enjoy it for its own sake. Hedonists arguing for this definition of pleasure usually take pains to position their definition in between the realms of sensation and preference satisfaction. They argue that since we can like or enjoy some experiences without concurrently wanting them or feeling any particular sensation, then liking is distinct from both sensation and preference satisfaction. Liking and enjoyment are also difficult terms to define in more detail, but they are certainly easier to recognise than the rather opaque “intrinsically valuable experience.”

Merely defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience and intrinsically valuable experiences as those that we like or enjoy still lacks enough detail to be very useful for contemplating well-being. A potential method for making this theory more useful would be to draw on the cognitive sciences to investigate if there is a specific neurological function for liking or enjoying. Cognitive science has not reached the point where anything definitive can be said about this, but a few neuroscientists have experimental evidence that liking and wanting (at least in regards to food) are neurologically distinct processes in rats and have argued that it should be the same for humans. The same scientists have wondered if the same processes govern all of our liking and wanting, but this question remains unresolved.

Most Hedonists who describe pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience believe that pleasure is internal and conscious. Hedonists who define pleasure in this way may be either Quantitative or Qualitative Hedonists, depending on whether they think that quality is a relevant dimension of how intrinsically valuable we find certain experiences.

One of the most recent developments in modern hedonism is the rise of defining pleasure as a pro-attitude a positive psychological stance toward some object. Any account of Prudential Hedonism that defines pleasure as a pro-attitude is referred to as Attitudinal Hedonism because it is a persons attitude that dictates whether anything has intrinsic value. Positive psychological stances include approving of something, thinking it is good, and being pleased about it. The object of the positive psychological stance could be a physical object, such as a painting one is observing, but it could also be a thought, such as “my country is not at war,” or even a sensation. An example of a pro-attitude towards a sensation could be being pleased about the fact that an ice cream tastes so delicious.

Fred Feldman, the leading proponent of Attitudinal Hedonism, argues that the sensation of pleasure only has instrumental value it only brings about value if you also have a positive psychological stance toward that sensation. In addition to his basic Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism, which is a form of Quantitative Hedonism, Feldman has also developed many variants that are types of Qualitative Hedonism. For example, Desert-Adjusted Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism, which reduces the intrinsic value a pro-attitude has for our well-being based on the quality of deservedness (that is, on the extent to which the particular object deserves a pro-attitude or not). For example, Desert-Adjusted Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism might stipulate that sensations of pleasure arising from adulterous behavior do not deserve approval, and so assign them no value.

Defining pleasure as a pro-attitude, while maintaining that all sensations of pleasure have no intrinsic value, makes Attitudinal Hedonism less obviously hedonistic as the versions that define pleasure as a sensation. Indeed, defining pleasure as a pro-attitude runs the risk of creating a preference satisfaction account of well-being because being pleased about something without feeling any pleasure seems hard to distinguish from having a preference for that thing.

The most common argument against Prudential Hedonism is that pleasure is not the only thing that intrinsically contributes to well-being. Living in reality, finding meaning in life, producing noteworthy achievements, building and maintaining friendships, achieving perfection in certain domains, and living in accordance with religious or moral laws are just some of the other things thought to intrinsically add value to our lives. When presented with these apparently valuable aspects of life, Hedonists usually attempt to explain their apparent value in terms of pleasure. A Hedonist would argue, for example, that friendship is not valuable in and of itself, rather it is valuable to the extent that it brings us pleasure. Furthermore, to answer why we might help a friend even when it harms us, a Hedonist will argue that the prospect of future pleasure from receiving reciprocal favors from our friend, rather than the value of friendship itself, should motivate us to help in this way.

Those who object to Prudential Hedonism on the grounds that pleasure is not the only source of intrinsic value use two main strategies. In the first strategy, objectors make arguments that some specific value cannot be reduced to pleasure. In the second strategy, objectors cite very long lists of apparently intrinsically valuable aspects of life and then challenge hedonists with the prolonged and arduous task of trying to explain how the value of all of them can be explained solely by reference to pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This second strategy gives good reason to be a pluralist about value because the odds seem to be against any monistic theory of value, such as Prudential Hedonism. The first strategy, however, has the ability to show that Prudential Hedonism is false, rather than being just unlikely to be the best theory of well-being.

The most widely cited argument for pleasure not being the only source of intrinsic value is based on Robert Nozicks experience machine thought-experiment. Nozicks experience machine thought-experiment was designed to show that more than just our experiences matter to us because living in reality also matters to us. This argument has proven to be so convincing that nearly every single book on ethics that discusses hedonism rejects it using only this argument or this one and one other.

In the thought experiment, Nozick asks us to imagine that we have the choice of plugging in to a fantastic machine that flawlessly provides an amazing mix of experiences. Importantly, this machine can provide these experiences in a way that, once plugged in to the machine, no one can tell that their experiences are not real. Disregarding considerations about responsibilities to others and the problems that would arise if everyone plugged in, would you plug in to the machine for life? The vast majority of people reject the choice to live a much more pleasurable life in the machine, mostly because they agree with Nozick that living in reality seems to be important for our well-being. Opinions differ on what exactly about living in reality is so much better for us than the additional pleasure of living in the experience machine, but the most common response is that a life that is not lived in reality is pointless or meaningless.

Since this argument has been used so extensively (from the mid 1970s onwards) to dismiss Prudential Hedonism, several attempts have been made to refute it. Most commonly, Hedonists argue that living an experience machine life would be better than living a real life and that most people are simply mistaken to not want to plug in. Some go further and try to explain why so many people choose not to plug in. Such explanations often point out that the most obvious reasons for not wanting to plug in can be explained in terms of expected pleasure and avoidance of pain. For example, it might be argued that we expect to get pleasure from spending time with our real friends and family, but we do not expect to get as much pleasure from the fake friends or family we might have in the experience machine. These kinds of attempts to refute the experience machine objection do little to persuade non-Hedonists that they have made the wrong choice.

A more promising line of defence for the Prudential Hedonists is to provide evidence that there is a particular psychological bias that affects most peoples choice in the experience machine thought experiment. A reversal of Nozicks thought experiment has been argued to reveal just such a bias. Imagine that a credible source tells you that you are actually in an experience machine right now. You have no idea what reality would be like. Given the choice between having your memory of this conversation wiped and going to reality, what would be best for you to choose? Empirical evidence on this choice shows that most people would choose to stay in the experience machine. Comparing this result with how people respond to Nozicks experience machine thought experiment reveals the following: In Nozicks experience machine thought experiment people tend to choose a real and familiar life over a more pleasurable life and in the reversed experience machine thought experiment people tend to choose a familiar life over a real life. Familiarity seems to matter more than reality, undermining the strength of Nozicks original argument. The bias thought to be responsible for this difference is the status quo bias an irrational preference for the familiar or for things to stay as they are.

Regardless of whether Nozicks experience machine thought experiment is as decisive a refutation of Prudential Hedonism as it is often thought to be, the wider argument (that living in reality is valuable for our well-being) is still a problem for Prudential Hedonists. That our actions have real consequences, that our friends are real, and that our experiences are genuine seem to matter for most of us regardless of considerations of pleasure. Unfortunately, we lack a trusted methodology for discerning if these things should matter to us. Perhaps the best method for identifying intrinsically valuable aspects of lives is to compare lives that are equal in pleasure and all other important ways, except that one aspect of one of the lives is increased. Using this methodology, however, seems certain to lead to an artificial pluralist conclusion about what has value. This is because any increase in a potentially valuable aspect of our lives will be viewed as a free bonus. And, most people will choose the life with the free bonus just in case it has intrinsic value, not necessarily because they think it does have intrinsic value.

The main traditional line of criticism against Prudential Hedonism is that not all pleasure is valuable for well-being, or at least that some pleasures are less valuable than others because of non-amount-related factors. Some versions of this criticism are much easier for Prudential Hedonists to deal with than others depending on where the allegedly disvaluable aspect of the pleasure resides. If the disvaluable aspect is experienced with the pleasure itself, then both Qualitative and Quantitative varieties of Prudential Hedonism have sufficient answers to these problems. If, however, the disvaluable aspect of the pleasure is never experienced, then all types of Prudential Hedonism struggle to explain why the allegedly disvaluable aspect is irrelevant.

Examples of the easier criticisms to deal with are that Prudential Hedonism values, or at least overvalues, perverse and base pleasures. These kinds of criticisms tend to have had more sway in the past and doubtless encouraged Mill to develop his Qualitative Hedonism. In response to the charge that Prudential Hedonism mistakenly values pleasure from sadistic torture, sating hunger, copulating, listening to opera, and philosophising all equally, Qualitative Hedonists can simply deny that it does. Since pleasure from sadistic torture will normally be experienced as containing the quality of sadism (just as the pleasure from listening to good opera is experienced as containing the quality of acoustic excellence), the Qualitative Hedonist can plausibly claim to be aware of the difference in quality and allocate less value to perverse or base pleasures accordingly.

Prudential Hedonists need not relinquish the Quantitative aspect of their theory in order to deal with these criticisms, however. Quantitative Hedonists, can simply point out that moral or cultural values are not necessarily relevant to well-being because the investigation of well-being aims to understand what the good life for the one living it is and what intrinsically makes their life go better for them. A Quantitative Hedonist can simply respond that a sadist that gets sadistic pleasure from torturing someone does improve their own well-being (assuming that the sadist never feels any negative emotions or gets into any other trouble as a result). Similarly, a Quantitative Hedonist can argue that if someone genuinely gets a lot of pleasure from porcine company and wallowing in the mud, but finds opera thoroughly dull, then we have good reason to think that having to live in a pig sty would be better for her well-being than forcing her to listen to opera.

Much more problematic for both Quantitative and Qualitative Hedonists, however, are the more modern versions of the criticism that not all pleasure is valuable. The modern versions of this criticism tend to use examples in which the disvaluable aspect of the pleasure is never experienced by the person whose well-being is being evaluated. The best example of these modern criticisms is a thought experiment devised by Shelly Kagan. Kagans deceived businessman thought experiment is widely thought to show that pleasures of a certain kind, namely false pleasures, are worth much less than true pleasures.

Kagan asks us to imagine the life of a very successful businessman who takes great pleasure in being respected by his colleagues, well-liked by his friends, and loved by his wife and children until the day he died. Then Kagan asks us to compare this life with one of equal length and the same amount of pleasure (experienced as coming from exactly the same sources), except that in each case the businessman is mistaken about how those around him really feel. This second (deceived) businessman experiences just as much pleasure from the respect of his colleagues and the love of his family as the first businessman. The only difference is that the second businessman has many false beliefs. Specifically, the deceived businessmans colleagues actually think he is useless, his wife doesnt really love him, and his children are only nice to him so that he will keep giving them money. Given that the deceived businessman never knew of any of these deceptions and his experiences were never negatively impacted by the deceptions indirectly, which life do you think is better?

Nearly everyone thinks that the deceived businessman has a worse life. This is a problem for Prudential Hedonists because the pleasure is quantitatively equal in each life, so they should be equally good for the one living it. Qualitative Hedonism does not seem to be able to avoid this criticism either because the falsity of the pleasures experienced by the deceived businessman is a dimension of the pleasure that he never becomes aware of. Theoretically, an externalist and qualitative version of Attitudinal Hedonism could include the falsity dimension of an instance of pleasure even if the falsity dimension never impacts the consciousness of the person. However, the resulting definition of pleasure bears little resemblance to what we commonly understand pleasure to be and also seems to be ad hoc in its inclusion of the truth dimension but not others. A dedicated Prudential Hedonist of any variety can always stubbornly stick to the claim that the lives of the two businessmen are of equal value, but that will do little to convince the vast majority to take Prudential Hedonism more seriously.

Another major line of criticism used against Prudential Hedonists is that they have yet to come up with a meaningful definition of pleasure that unifies the seemingly disparate array of pleasures while remaining recognisable as pleasure. Some definitions lack sufficient detail to be informative about what pleasure actually is, or why it is valuable, and those that do offer enough detail to be meaningful are faced with two difficult tasks.

The first obstacle for a useful definition of pleasure for hedonism is to unify all of the diverse pleasures in a reasonable way. Phenomenologically, the pleasure from reading a good book is very different to the pleasure from bungee jumping, and both of these pleasures are very different to the pleasure of having sex. This obstacle is unsurpassable for most versions of Quantitative Hedonism because it makes the value gained from different pleasures impossible to compare. Not being able to compare different types of pleasure results in being unable to say if a life is better than another in most even vaguely realistic cases. Furthermore, not being able to compare lives means that Quantitative Hedonism could not be usefully used to guide behavior since it cannot instruct us on which life to aim for.

Attempts to resolve the problem of unifying the different pleasures while remaining within a framework of Quantitative Hedonism, usually involve pointing out something that is constant in all of the disparate pleasures and defining that particular thing as pleasure. When pleasure is defined as a strict sensation, this strategy fails because introspection reveals that no such sensation exists. Pleasure defined as the experience of liking or as a pro-attitude does much better at unifying all of the diverse pleasures. However, defining pleasure in these ways makes the task of filling in the details of the theory a fine balancing act. Liking or pro-attitudes must be described in such a way that they are not solely a sensation or best described as a preference satisfaction theory. And they must perform this balancing act while still describing a scientifically plausible and conceptually coherent account of pleasure. Most attempts to define pleasure as liking or pro-attitudes seem to disagree with either the folk conception of what pleasure is or any of the plausible scientific conceptions of how pleasure functions.

Most varieties of Qualitative Hedonism do better at dealing with the problem of diverse pleasures because they can evaluate different pleasures according to their distinct qualities. Qualitative Hedonists still need a coherent method for comparing the different pleasures with each other in order to be more than just an abstract theory of well-being, however. And, it is difficult to construct such a methodology in a way that avoids counter examples, while still describing a scientifically plausible and conceptually coherent account of pleasure.

The second obstacle is creating a definition of pleasure that retains at least some of the core properties of the common understanding of the term pleasure. As mentioned, many of the potential adjustments to the main definitions of pleasure are useful for avoiding one or more of the many objections against Prudential Hedonism. The problem with this strategy is that the more adjustments that are made, the more apparent it becomes that the definition of pleasure is not recognisable as the pleasure that gave Hedonism its distinctive intuitive plausibility in the first place. When an instance of pleasure is defined simply as when someone feels good, its intrinsic value for well-being is intuitively obvious. However, when the definition of pleasure is stretched, so as to more effectively argue that all valuable experiences are pleasurable, it becomes much less recognisable as the concept of pleasure we use in day-to-day life and its intrinsic value becomes much less intuitive.

The future of hedonism seems bleak. The considerable number and strength of the arguments against Prudential Hedonisms central principle (that pleasure and only pleasure intrinsically contributes positively to well-being and the opposite for pain) seem insurmountable. Hedonists have been creative in their definitions of pleasure so as to avoid these objections, but more often than not find themselves defending a theory that is not particularly hedonistic, realistic or both.

Perhaps the only hope that Hedonists of all types can have for the future is that advances in cognitive science will lead to a better understanding of how pleasure works in the brain and how biases affect our judgements about thought experiments. If our improved understanding in these areas confirms a particular theory about what pleasure is and also provides reasons to doubt some of the widespread judgements about the thought experiments that make the vast majority of philosophers reject hedonism, then hedonism might experience at least a partial revival. The good news for Hedonists is that at least some emerging theories and results from cognitive science do appear to support some aspects of hedonism.

Dan Weijers Email: danweijers@gmail.com Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand

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